Balochistan LG elections: Councillors to elect women, non-Muslim members today

Polls for reserved seats for peasants and social workers postponed.


Irfan Ghauri May 29, 2014
PTI govt delimited LG constituencies even though SC nullified delimitations in Punjab and Sindh. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD:


Councillors in Balochistan are set to elect women and minority members for their respective councils today (Thursday), after a lapse of almost six months since the first phase of the local government (LG) elections was held in the province.


A total of 2,332 women and 743 non-Muslim members will be elected on reserved seats for local councils throughout the province. Elected members from each local council in all districts will serve as the electoral college for the elections on reserved seats.

Under the Balochistan Local Government Act, four categories have been ascribed to reserved seats in each local council, namely women, peasants/workers, professional social workers and non-Muslims.

Elections on two other reserved categories – peasants/workers and social workers – have been postponed after a Balochistan High Court (BHC) order. In its local government laws, the Balochistan assembly reserved a 33% quota for women and 5% quota for reserved seats in the other three categories.



The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on April 14 issued a notification for the election of members on reserved seats, but petitions challenging the allocated quotas were filed in the BHC. The petitioners contended that these quotas were disproportionate to the populations these groups have.

On May 23, the BHC stayed polls for seats reserved for peasants and social workers. The ECP complied with the court orders and postponed polls for the two categories but decided to go ahead as planned for election for women and non-Muslim seats. So far Balochistan is the only province to hold LG elections. Polls for directly elected local government seats were held in December, last year. Some 7,169 councillors were elected on the general seats.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2014.

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