The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has changed its plan of holding local government elections for tehsil and village and neighbourhood councils in two phases and instead decided to hold polls for both the tiers together.
For holding separate elections for both the tiers, the local government department had also amended the KP Local Government Act, 2013 last year, according to sources. The government has already done away with the third tier of the local bodies system i.e. district council.
Some quarters in the provincial government and Election Commission of Pakistan, had termed the decision of holding separate elections for both the tiers unwise and expensive, saying it would need double cost and energy.
“Now the provincial government has decided to hold elections for both the tiers on the same day,” said sources. The local government department has also conveyed its decision to Election Commission of Pakistan and Supreme Court, which is currently hearing a case about holding of local bodies’ elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces.
The government notified transfers and allocations to the Pakistan Election Commission (ECP) in preparation for the by-elections.
KP local government chief electoral officer Abdul Hafeez was transferred to the Islamabad secretariat and director Adnan Bashir was assigned to his post.
The Balochistan Joint Election Commissioner Abdul Qayyum has been transferred to the EC secretariat as additional administrative director general.
Fayyaz Hassain was promoted from grade 19 to grade 20 and was appointed provincial deputy commissioner.
The 2020 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Emergency Aid and Outbreak Control Bill passed to ensure the prevention and control of infectious diseases in the province to bring relief to people in emergency situation .
The KP Epidemic Control and Emergency Aid Ordinance 2020 was enacted on June 1, which provides for the required local government elections to be held until the declaration of the KP continues. health emergency.
In defense of his amendment, Inayatullah Khan said that under the Election Law of 2017, the holding of elections in local bodies was within the mandate of the Election Commission of Pakistan.
He said the law required the PCE to hold elections within four months of the expiration of the four-year term of local bodies.
"Section 31 of the law is illegal and illegal and the PCE will repeal it," he said. The opposition lawmaker said the provincial government could ask the ECP to postpone local elections for valid reasons.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has released the schedule for local body elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on Thursday.
According to the details garnered, constituencies in 36 districts of Punjab will begin from the next month. The neighborhood and Village Council constituencies will be demarcated by the ECP.
However, the maps will be obtained from July 6 to July 25. The committees will prepare preliminary lists of constituencies by August 20 and release them by August 21.
The committees will prepare a preliminary list of constituencies by August 20.
Earlier, Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan directed Punjab government to complete preparations for local body elections, said the sources. The prime minister gave the task to Punjab government for task of holding local body elections at the village council level.
“Prime minister says the elections at the gross root level are the solutions of people’s problem,” PM Khan said during the meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. He also directed to announce election after preparations of village council elections.
The sources further said that the Prime Minister supported CM Bazdar, saying, it was only negative propaganda that Usman Bazdar was not empowered. “The chief secretary and IG Punjab are new but work as team of the Punjab chief minister,” he added.
The sources revealed that if the ruling party dared to hold LG elections then they would surely lose the real mandate and it would greatly affect their dominance on other parties in KP and Punjab.
The sources further said that ECP has held several meetings with the provinces to expedite the election process as soon as possible; adding that ECP will not be able to hold LG elections due to alleged delaying tactics of the incumbent government.
The KP government has allocated Rs46 billion for the districts in its annual development program. These funds are to be spent through the local governments and it will leave a question mark on how the government will spend these funds in the absence of LG elections.
Information Minister of KP government Shaukat Yousafzai did not respond when The Nation called him repeatedly for getting information about the procedure of spending these funds in the absence of local governments.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhewa laws related to Local Government and passed by the provincial assembly have been challenged by the opposition in Peshawar High Court.
The KP government is also yet to conduct local government elections in the province within the pre-determined timeframe.
The opposition in KP Assembly has also raised finger over the amendment in Local Government Act 2013 as unlike the 2015 local bodies, the new setup will have two tiers of government (Tehsil/Town Councils and the Village/Neighbourhood Councils) after the KP government amended the KP Local Government Act 2013 and the district council has been revoked.
However, sources in the ECP told The Nation that the elections are unlikely to be held soon due to the lengthy delimitation process and besides this the government is using delaying tactics fearing defeat in elections.
Local body polls are likely to be held in Balochistan and recently-merged districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa before the upcoming holy month of Ramazan in May, sources said on Sunday.
the ECP has already geared up the process of debilitations of constituencies in the merged districts of KP. However, according to some independent sources, the ECP is likely to hold the local body polls in April. The ECP spokesperson was not immediately available to confirm.
Every village council and neighbourhood council shall comprise of ten to fifteen following members: a) Five to ten members, determined on the basis of population, elected to general seats b) Two members elected to seats reserved for women c) One member elected to seat reserved for peasants and workers d) One member elected to seat reserved for youth e) One member elected to seat reserved for non-Muslims Candidates securing highest and second highest number of votes in the election to the general seats of the village council or the neighbourhood council shall respectively be elected as the Nazim and Naib Nazim of the village council or the neighbourhood council.