ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Islamabad (ECP) on Thursday issued schedule for holding of local government election in Islamabad on July 31.

While issuing the schedule, the ECP has banned transfer and posting of government officers and officials till elections are held.

“No transfer and postings of the government officers and officials including autonomous bodies and authorities shall be made in Islamabad without prior approval of Election Commission till the publication of election results,” read the notification.

It also stated that no leave will be granted in Islamabad to government officers and officials including autonomous bodies without prior approval of ECP and till the publication of elections results.

Whereas the ECP also stated: “All Executive Authorities in Federation and in the provinces shall neither announce any new development project nor use state resources in local government elections calculated to influence the elections in favour of a particular candidate,” read the notification.

ECP bans transfer, posting in capital city

Election schedule

“Public Notice Inviting nomination papers to be issued by the Returning Officers on 10-6-2022,” it said and added that June 13 to 16, candidates could file nomination papers .

Similarly, the notification said that after completing other procedures, the ECP will allot symbols to contesting candidates on July 2 and finally elections will be held on 31-07-2022.

The local government completed its five-year term in February 2021 and elections were slated to be held within three months, but the same were not held as previous government wanted to get the election conducted on the basis of new delimitation, increasing numbers of Union Councils from 50 to 100.

However, the PTI failed to get the local government Act of 2015 amended from parliament to increase numbers of seats. Resultantly, ECP decided to hold the elections on the basis of previous Act and now the numbers of Union Council will remain the same (50).

The last elections were held in November 2015, which were won by then ruling party in the centre – PML-N.

Subsequently, PML-N leader Sheikh Anser Aziz was elected as the first ever mayor of the capital city. However, neither PML-N nor PTI paid any heed towards strengthening of the local government setup, which completed its five-year term without power and funds in February last year.

Later, PTI made many claims that it was going to introduce a new Act for having a directly elected powerful mayor. However, the PTI in its three and half years in power, could not get the proposed Act passed from parliament.

In the last elections, the PML-N and PTI were the main rivals as the PPP failed to win seats in the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad(MCI).

However, this time, the PML-N and PPP are part of the coalition government in the centre, therefore, a tough competition is expected between all the three major parties – PML-N, PPP and PTI. Whereas, in the last general elections held in 2018, the PTI had won all the three seats of MNAs from Islamabad and subsequently MNA Asad Umar was made as the planning minister in Imran Khan’s cabinet and he played an active role in getting funds for development works in Islamabad. Similarly, PTI MNA Ali Nawaz Awan also served as the special assistant to prime minister on CDA affairs and remained active in his constituency.

However, now the PML-N and its allies are in power in the centre and their workers are nowadays fully active and a tough competition is expected.

The new local government which will be based on the old Act will be no different than the previous one as necessary changes were not made to the law for having a vibrant and powerful system for the 2.2 million people of Islamabad, who could not get any relief in previous tenure.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2022

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