ISLAMABAD: Putting its foot down, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday decided to hold local government (LG) elections in Punjab in the last week of April 2023, nearly 16 months after the expiry of the term of local bodies in the province.

The decision was taken at a meeting held with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja in the chair.

ECP Secretary Omar Hamid Khan informed the participants in the meeting that the commission had to work twice for the delimitation of constituencies to conduct local elections as the local government laws had been changed twice, though the term of the local bodies in Punjab ended on January 1, 2022.

The forum was told that since the Punjab government notified the Punjab Local Government Act on Nov 16, 2022, the Election Commission of Pakistan was going to start work of delimitation for a third time.

Commission notes it has already worked twice to delimit constituencies

But for this, the Punjab government had not yet notified the Punjab Local Government Constituency Rules and Punjab Local Government Conduct of Election Rules.

ECP officials asked the Punjab government representatives to immediately provide copies of the Election Commission Rules and other data to the Punjab Election Commissioner and district election commissioners to enable it to start the work of delimitation as soon as possible and the representatives of the provincial government should be consulted on the date for holding elections in the province immediately so that local government elections could be held at the earliest.

However, the Punjab government officials said draft rules would be placed before the cabinet meeting as per the Election Commission of Pakistan’s feedback and after approval of the rules, their copies would be made available to the election commission.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2022

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