ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided in principle to put off the delimitation process for local government elections in Sindh at the request of the chief minister, informed sources told Dawn.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, who met Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja here on Wednesday, sought two weeks’ time for legislation with consensus.

ECP member from Sindh Shah Mohammad Jatoi and senior officials of the commission were also present on the occasion. The ECP member from Balochistan is away and could not attend the meeting.

The commission promised to seriously consider the request. An informed source, however, said a decision in principle had been taken to accept the request. He disclosed that practically delimitation for LG polls in Sindh would now commence from January 1. The ECP had previously announced that delimitation would start from December 1.

The development comes following Sindh Governor Imran Ismail’s refusal to give his assent to the Sindh Local Government Bill, returning it to the Sindh Assembly for reconsideration. The governor confirmed this while appearing on a private news channel on Monday night, describing the recently passed bill as a move to make the local government a ‘toothless’ system run by a ‘dummy’ mayor.

The chief minister’s request shows that the provincial government is now ready to suitably amend the bill to make it acceptable for all.

Meanwhile, the ECP on Wednesday deferred a briefing by its director general (law) on the foreign funding case against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf because of the absence of the commission’s member from Balochistan.

Informed sources said the commission discussed other agenda items concerning local government elections, door-to-door voters’ verification drive and other ongoing activities, but put off the briefing on the foreign funding case.

The ECP was supposed to look into the report submitted by its scrutiny committee and the DG law, who also heads the committee, was scheduled to give a briefing to the commission.

According to an official, the meeting is most likely to take place in next two days.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2021

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