RAWALPINDI: In a move to hold the local government elections in Punjab, the Election Commissioner of Pakistan (ECP) has issued a schedule for the registration of electoral groups/panels.
It also issued a notification to appoint officials for the enlistment of electoral groups as under the law no individual other than a political party or a group will contest the election independently. Though the commission started work on preparation of the elections, the delimitation of constituencies was held under old census and the result of new census will be available in a week or two.
The ECP has asked independents who wanted to contest the local government polls to form electoral groups/panels as no independent candidate will be allowed to contest the elections.
According to the schedule, registration forms can be received from authorised officials on June 5 and submitted to the ECP from June 6 to June 12. Scrutiny of the applications will be held on June 19.
From June 27 to July 3, the authorised officials will issue the Electoral Group Enrollment Confirmation Form 3. The date for filing objections and complaints against the decisions of the ECP officials on applications has been fixed from July 4 to 10. The decision on the objections will be made by July 17.
Independents told to form groups/panels as no one would be allowed to contest polls individually
For Rawalpindi Metropolitan Corporation (RMC), the applications will be submitted to the office of Rawalpindi Election Commission-I.
Rawalpindi Election Commission-II will receive applications from candidates for the district council and assistant commissioners of seven tehsils will register the electoral groups/panels in their respective areas.
Rawalpindi Election Commissioner Roy Sultan Bhatty said under section 47 (5) of Punjab Local Government Ordinance 2021, only political parties or electoral panels/groups could participate in local government elections.
“No independent candidate will be allowed to participate in the elections under the new law,” he said.
He said the system was introduced for the first time in the province and mostly people were unaware of it.
“Under the new law, those who do not want to contest polls from the platform of any political party should form their own panels. The registration of these groups with the commission is necessary,” he said.
He said for the registration of electoral groups/panels, the election commission had deployed nine senior officers. They would have to fill a forms mentioning details like head of the electoral group, other office-bearers and the number of candidates.
The term of the local government in Punjab ended on Jan 1, 2022, and under the law the elections were supposed to be held within 120 days after the expiry of the term. However, in the last one year, the election commission has postponed the LG elections twice.
In December 2022, the ECP decided to hold the local government elections in the last week of April, but later postponed it.
Though the ECP has now started work on preparation for the elections, the delimitation of constituencies was held under the old census. The result of the new census will arrive soon. As per the old census data, till January 2023 the total population of RMC was 19,58,374, on the basis of which the commission had carved out 78 UCs.
Similarly, the urban population of the district council was 296,776 which consisted of 12 union councils. Apart from this, the population of District Council Rural was 1,407,157 which consisted of 58 UCs. As far as rural areas are concerned, Tehsil Rawalpindi City has a population of 15,208 while Tehsil Cantonment has a population of 9,964, and both have been given one union council each.
Under Section 10 of the LG Act, delimitation of constituencies is the sole responsibility of the ECP but it is conducted on data provided by the district administrations and the deputy commissioner.
Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2023