ECP to set deadline for holding LG elections

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In a bid to expedite the perpetually postponed local government elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday decided to issue a deadline to the provincial governments to hold the polls.

Sources privy to the development said that the polls supervisory body, using its constitutional and legal powers, has decided in principle to issue directives to the provincial governments under which the provinces will be bound by a deadline to hold the long-overdue LG polls.

The decision comes as the commission has already heard arguments from Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) in various meetings it had held in this regard and was now set to announce its final decision, sources said.

Earlier this week, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja had clarified that the ECP will announce its decision regarding the matter only after it has heard all the provinces and urged them to pick up the pace. He directed the K-P government to present its plan within three days after liaising with the provincial cabinet.

The ECP has repeatedly asserted that holding the polls was within its constitutional and legal responsibility and all executive authorities in the federation and in the provinces were bound to assist the commission in the discharge of its functions under Article 220 of the Constitution.

However, the process has been progressing at a snail’s pace as the provinces continue to cite various grounds for their inability to hold the long-overdue elections.

On Monday, the ECP informed the Sindh High Court that it had notified delimitation committees for holding local government elections in Sindh, but the provincial government had yet to provide requisite data, which linked the polls with a fresh census.

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