Punjab, KP to hold LG elections by November

Islamabad – After a series of interventions by Prime Minister Imran Khan, both the PTI governments in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have agreed to complete the procedural requirements for Local Government (LG) elections by October this year.

Sources privy to the development, confided to The Nation that PTI-led government in Punjab after completing the requirements has requested the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to announce schedule for holding the crucial LG polls; most likely in October.

Likewise, informed sources said that the ongoing process of delimitation of constituencies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is to be completed in October and LG polls are likely to be held in November.

According to details, Punjab Law Minister Basharat Raja held meeting with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja here earlier this month and asked for local government elections’ schedule under Punjab Village Punchayat and Neighbourhood Councils’ Act 2019.

 Sources said that CEC had asked the Punjab government to submit its proposal at the earliest whether it wanted to hold elections in one go or in phases, and a final meeting about election schedule is expected between the two sides either in next month or early October.

However some PTI leaders believed the Punjab government might seek LG polls in two phases because of the management issue due to the large number of Village Punchayat and Neighbourhood Councils.

According to official record there are 25,238 Village Punchayat and Neighbourhood Councils in the province, and each Village Punchayat has more than 200 people population, while each Neighbourhood Council has more than 15,000 voters.

The LG polls in Punjab would present a major change, as these are going to be party-based elections and voters will be directly electing their favourite parties’ candidates and the mayor in municipal corporations and lord mayor in metropolitan corporations. The local governments in Punjab were dissolved in a controversial move on May 4 2019, while their term was to expire on January 1, 2022.

On the other hand, the ongoing process of delimitation of constituencies for LG in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is expected to be completed by October 13.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elections for LGs are already late as the term of LGs was completed their term on August 28, 2019 and the fresh polls were due to be held by December 27.

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