PESHAWAR: The Local Council Association (LCA) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday rejected the possible suspension of local government representatives by the Election Commission of Pakistan during the upcoming general elections.

The members of LCA threatened to take to streets if ECP suspended them.

During a meeting of the Board of Governors of LCA here on Tuesday, the participants rejected the prospect of suspension of the local government representatives for a term of 90 days, according to a statement.

ECP official says no such move under consideration

However, a senior official of ECP, when contacted, ruled out suspension of the representatives of the local bodies.

“Actually correspondence has taken place between the federal government and ECP about the suspension of the by-elections of local bodies but not the representatives of the local government,” he said.

The official said that it was impossible for ECP to conduct the general elections and by-elections of local government simultaneously.

The LCA meeting was presided over by its convener and Malakand nazim Syed Ahmad Ali Shah. LCA senior vice president and Upper Dir nazim Sahibzada Fasihullah, Lower Dir nazim Mohammad Rasool Khan, Kohat nazim Naseem Afridi, LCA secretary general Asif Ali and secretary information Advocate Ali Haider attended the meeting.

Talking to journalists, the nazims expressed concern over withdrawal of financial and administrative powers from them. They said that the government had already imposed ban on development projects, appointments and transfers so there was no justification of their suspension.

They said that people elected them and it was their constitutional and democratic right and responsibility to serve the people without any pause.

They also criticised a section of the Local Government Act, 2013, that bound the local government representatives to resign if they wanted to contest elections for the provincial and National Assembly seats.

“There is no restriction on MPAs and MNAs to contest Senate elections,” they said.

Ali Haider said they had already been facing a lot of issues at the district, tehsil and village council levels. He said that ECP should not increase their problems.

He demanded of the government to provide all facilities to the elected representatives so that they could serve the people.

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2018