The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday declared holding the local government elections on a non-party basis as “unconstitutional”.
In its short order, the court directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold the village and neighborhood council elections in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on a party basis and take measures for this purpose.
The petition against the LG polls was filed by JUI-F’s Akram Khan Durrani and Jamaat-e-Islami’s Inayatullah Khan among others.
According to ECP sources, the LG elections in the province were likely to be postponed after the court decision.
The schedule will be affected after the decision to hold LG polls elections on a party basis.
The commission has received a written decision of the court on holding of the local government elections on party lines and it has convened a meeting on Wednesday (today) to consider the implementation of the orders.
The ECP has officially said the LG polls would take place as scheduled.
The commission has also contacted the K-P government after the court decision.
The provincial government has sought time to consult on the court's decision.
K-P minister Kamran Bangash said that the next course of action would be decided in the provincial cabinet meeting on Wednesday (today).
“The situation arising out of the Local Government Act, the EPC and high court decision will be considered,” he added.
The K-P government has already restored the accounts of local bodies under the Local Government Act 2013.
On the instructions of LG Secretary Noorul Amin Mengal, guidelines have been issued to chief officers for operating the accounts.
According to the spokesperson for the local governments, competent officers would be responsible for transferring the funds in the accounts established under the Local Government Act 2019 to the ones created under the 2013 law.
Current funds in the accounts will be transferred by cross cheques. All local government revenue, PFC shares, tax shares should be transferred immediately to the bank accounts established under the 2013 Act.
No more transactions can be made from the bank accounts established under the 2019 Act. The commission had recently announced holding the first phase of the LG polls in K-P on December 19.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja had chaired a meeting of the commission on the issue. It was attended by ECP members and senior officers.
K-P Minister Atif Khan, the chief secretary and local government secretary told the participants that the provincial government wanted to hold the first round of elections for village and neighbourhood councils in December.
They further said consultations for tehsil council polls should be held later.
Apart from the publication of official population figures, LG elections have not yet been held because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the deteriorating law and order situation in the province, they added.
The ECP agreed that the first phase of elections should be held in December, but the tehsil council elections would be held on the same day so that all the local governments in the districts where the polls were being held could be functional.
According to the ECP, in the first phase, village and neighborhood and tehsil council elections would be held in 17 districts of the province.
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