ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has excluded Malakand from the list of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa districts where local government elections will be held on Dec 19.
Buner district has been included in the list instead. Two separate notifications to this effect were issued by the ECP on Thursday.
The change has been made on the request of the provincial government.
The other districts to be covered in the first phase will remain unchanged. These are: Mardan, Swabi, Peshawar, Nowshera, Kohat, Karak, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, Tank, Haripur, Khyber, Mohmand, Charsadda, Hangu and Lakki Marwat.
Buner has been included in the list for Dec 19 vote
The ECP on last Thursday had put its foot down, setting Dec 19 and Jan 16 as the dates for the first and second phase of local government elections in KP.
In a detailed order issued by a three-member bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, the ECP had directed the provincial government, chief secretary and local government secretary to make all necessary arrangements and take requisite steps for free, fair and smooth conduct of elections in the province in assistance and aid of the Commission office.
It is for the first time in the country’s history that the ECP has asserted itself to meet a constitutional obligation, rejecting proposals by KP government representatives.
Under the latest proposal, the KP government wanted elections for village and neighbourhood councils in two phases — the first in December this year and the second in March next year — and to take decision on polls for tehsil councils later.
Under the order, the LG polls for village councils, neighbourhood councils and tehsil councils in 17 districts would be held in the first phase and in 18 districts in the second phase.
The term of local governments in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa expired on August 28, 2019, and the Election Commission in terms of Section 219(4) of the Elections Act, 2017, was under legal obligation to conduct local government elections within 120 days of the expiry of the term.
The KP, like other provinces, has kept on dragging its feet on LG polls.
In line with its assertive decision to complete phase-wise local government elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) by mid of January next, the ECP had on October 25 announced its schedule for polls in 17 districts of the province in the first phase on Dec 19.
Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2021