PESHAWAR: In response to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) asking the ECP to expedite Local Government (LG) polls, the commission’s provincial chapter brushed off PTI’s accusations that they were delaying the process.
An Election Commission of Pakistan official told The Express Tribune that PTI only notified them about successfully completing delimitation across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on March 23, and it was impossible to hold elections on April 30.
Based on past elections, the process is expected to take at least two months, the ECP official explained while requesting anonymity. After this notification, the commission will move forward accordingly.
He claimed the commission was the authority working on the ground, and people should not believe “baseless statements”.
“A meeting of the ECP is in progress in Islamabad regarding LG elections with K-P Chief Election Commissioner Sono Khan Baloch, and we are waiting to hear what is decided,” he said with regards to a huddle held earlier, the outcome of which is yet to be disclosed.
Election analyst Quresh Khattak said elections would not be possible on April 30, arguing that after fixing the election date at least forty-five days are required to prepare for the big day. According to Representation of People Act (RPA), the process of preparing the final list of candidates after submission of nomination papers takes 22 days.
Preparing ballot papers takes another 23 days and the candidates also need time to run their election campaigns, he added. “This is a challenge for ECP,” Khattak said.
This is yet another chapter in the confusion that has mired K-P’s LG elections recently.
The Supreme Court earlier ordered fresh delimitation; Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has demanded the provincial election commission use the biometric system while claiming to be ready for LG polls on April 30. The ECP has maintained the proposed deadline is not possible while criticising PTI’s actions in this regard and now PTI’s opponents are again accusing the leadership of using LG elections for ‘political-scoring.’
Provincial president of Pakistan Peoples Party Khanzada Khan, criticised the PTI government, saying the leadership had announced LG polls three times already. He said his party was ready to contest the LG elections under the tripartite alliance formed by opposition parties.
Awami National Party (ANP) leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain accused the PTI of not taking the LG system seriously. “It’s all about political-scoring,” said Hussain, adding the PTI totted a biometric system for voting and new delimitation, but the public would soon see the realities. ANP was ready for the LG polls, he said further.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2014.
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