PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has completed the delimitation process by dividing the province into 3,493 village and neighbourhood councils as the government intends to hold local government polls by the end of April, according to sources.
Under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Act, 2013, creation of village and neighbourhood councils is mandatory for the local bodies’ elections.
Sources said that the province was divided into 2,989 village and 504 neighbourhood councils. The village councils are created in the rural areas while neighbourhood councils consist of urban areas.
Sources said that completion of the delimitation paved the way for holding local bodies’ elections. The local government and rural development department (LG&RDD) has already received reports from the districts about the details of the village and neighbourhood councils.
The delimitation was carried out by LG&RDD with the help of attached departments at district level, including the district administration and revenue department.
The provincial government would officially notify the details of the village and neighbourhood councils in the coming few days, sources said. The delimitation process was started on December 1, 2013.
Minister for Local Government Inayatullah Khan, when contacted, said that the provincial government was intended to hold the local bodies’ elections by the end of April 2014. “The creation of village and neighbourhood councils has almost completed. It is the main requirement for elections,” he said.
The minister said that there were some minor issues related to court in Kohistan and Nowshera districts, but those couldn’t be a hurdle in holding the elections.
Asked about the use of biometric machine in the local government elections, he said that the provincial government already conveyed to the Election Commission of Pakistan and Nadra for bearing expenses of the machines.
Peshawar is on top of the list of districts with 347 local councils including 217 village and 130 neighbourhood councils, followed by Mardan with 231 local councils including 178 village and 53 neighbourhood councils.
Mansehra has 194 councils, Torgar 40, Charsadda 146, Hangu 62, Malakand 82, Tank 70, Battagram 90, Swabi 160, Buner 105, Dir Upper 116, Dir Lower 195, Chitral 100, Shangla 106, Kohat, 91, Karak 61, Bannu 110, Lakki Marwat 96, Dera Ismail Khan 173, Abbottabad 209, Haripur 180, Nowshera 153 and Swat has 214 councils.
There is no neighbourhood council in Kohistan and Buner as both the districts have no urban area while Torghar has only one neighbourhood council.
The erstwhile union councils have been turned into wards for district and tehsil/town elections. Each of the wards was divided into two to three village and neighbourhood councils, sources said.
They said that minimum population in each village and neighbourhood council was 2,000 individuals and maximum population was 10, 000.
According to the Local Government Act, 2013, minimum number of the general seats in each village and neighbourhood council is five that can be raised to 10 with increase in population. Each village and neighbourhood council has five reserved seats including two for women and one each for pheasants, workers, youth and minorities.