PESHAWAR: The Election Commission of Pakistan on Thursday announced the schedule and a code of conduct for the second phase of local government elections in 18 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The polling will be held on March 27.
The ECP issues a notification under the relevant laws declaring that public notices will be issued by the relevant returning officers inviting nomination papers on Feb 4 to be followed by the filing of nomination papers from Feb 7 to Feb 11.
The notification also carried a code of conduct for the LG elections barring public officeholders, including prime minister and the country’s president, from visiting any constituency for the polls from unveiling any development scheme and from canvassing votes for any candidate or political party.
Voting on March 27, nominations to be received from Feb 7
Elections will be held for the posts of mayor and chairman of tehsil and city councils and different categories of members in village and neighbourhood councils in 18 districts, including Abbottabad, Mansehra, Battagram, Torghar, Kohistan Upper, Kohistan Lower, Kolai-Palas, Kohistan, Swat, Malakand, Shangla, Lower and Upper Dir, Upper and Lower Chitral, Kurram, Orakzai and North and South Waziristan.
The first phase of elections was held in 17 districts on Dec 19, 2021.
In the second phase, elections will be held for 65 posts of the tehsil and city council chairmen and mayors in 18 districts.
According to the schedule, initial lists of nominated candidates will be issued on Feb 12 following which scrutiny of nomination papers will take place from Feb 14 to 16.
Appeals against acceptance and rejection of nomination papers could be filed from Feb 17 to 19, whereas the concerned appellate tribunal will decide those appeals until Feb 22.
Last date for withdrawal of nomination papers by the candidates and publication of the revised lists of candidates will be on Fen 25.
The returning officers will allot election symbols to candidates on Feb 28.
While polling will be on March 27, consolidation of results will take place on Apr 1.
Code of conduct
The ECP, in the notification, also issued a code of conduct banning all executive authorities in the federation and provinces from either announcing any development project or using state resources in the elections, which could influence the elections in favour of a particular candidate.
It warned that if any person in government service misused his or her official position for influencing the results of the elections, he or she should be liable to be proceeded under the law.
The ECP said: “Districts in respect of which election schedule of local government elections has been issued, no transfers and postings of government officers and officials, including autonomous bodies, shall be made without prior approval of the commission until the publication of election results.”
The ECP barred the holders of public offices from visiting any constituency for the local government polls, unveiling any development scheme and canvassing for any candidate or political party.
Among others, the public officeholders include the president, the prime minister, the chief minister, the governor, speaker and deputy speaker of any of the assemblies, chairman and deputy chairman of the Senate, federal and provincial ministers and advisers to the prime minister or chief minister.
The code further said any public officeholder, who was found to have violated any provision of the election laws or the instructions issued by the commission, would be proceeded against under the relevant laws.
The ECP also prohibited the grant of leave, without the ECP approval and until the publication of results, to government employees in the districts where elections are being held.
“In case leave has already been sanctioned, the officer will not relinquish his charge without approval of the Commission,” it added.
DROs, ROs notified
The ECP also notified the district returning officers (DROs), returning officers (ROs) and assistant returning officers (AROs) for the upcoming local body elections.
According to a notification, 18 DROs, 253 ROs and 318 DROs were named for the city and tehsil councils, and village and neighbourhood councils.
Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Election Commissioner Mohammad Raziq held a meeting with chief secretary Dr Shehzad Khan Bangash and discussed with him arrangements for the second phase of LG elections and polling in the councils, where voting wasn’t held during the first phase due to the death of contesting candidates.
According to a news release issued here, the election commissioner emphasised free, fair and impartial polls. The chief secretary assured him that all possible steps would be taken to hold polls peacefully and fairly.
Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2022