LAHORE: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) halted the process for election to reserved seats at various levels of local bodies hours after the provincial government got a law passed from the Punjab Assembly on Thursday, amending the procedure for the polls.

A returning officer told Dawn that they received a directive from the ECP in the afternoon about putting on hold the election process when they were to collect ballot papers for the first phase of the electoral exercise to be held on Monday.

According to him, the directive neither gave any reason for halting the process nor mentioned a new date for the elections.

He said that at least 10,000 ballot papers had been printed for his district for the Feb 8 polls in which reserved seats in the district councils and municipal corporations were to be filled in.

Earlier, the representative to the seats reserved for women, workers, youth, minorities and technocrats were to be elected through a direct poll with directly elected councillors to serve as electorate for the purpose and the ECP had issued schedule to the effect and received nominations from the aspirants.

But the new law changed the procedure by authorising the political parties to submit their lists of nominees so that the reserved seats could be allotted to them under the proportionate system instead of going through the voting process.

Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2016

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