ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission has asked the provincial governments to complete their legislation on the local government system in light of observations already delivered to them (the provinces) for conducting local body elections without any further delay.
“As provincial governments intimate/announce a date for holding local government elections, the Election Commission shall issue the schedule for conduct of elections in all four provinces,” said Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan, Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan. “The Election Commission could not announce the schedule for the LG elections in provinces on its own initiative,” he added.
In the case of Balochistan, the province has also been requested to reconsider its legislation on local government system in light of the observations made by the Election Commission in its letter, dated October 21, he said. Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan stated that after the adoption of the 18th Amendment, responsibility for holding local government elections has been entrusted to the Election Commission , which has not yet been constituted.
However, holding of local government elections depends upon various factors, including the legislation to be finalised by the provincial governments, delimitation of union councils, etc. And, if the elections are to be held on party basis, the resolution of the issue of allocation of symbols to the political parties and their candidates is also required in advance.
Besides, the Election Commission secretary clarified that as far as legislation is concerned the provincial governments are not only to finalise the law relating to local government system but they are also yet to frame election rules.
Meanwhile, the Commission has noted that provincial governments are working on various models of local government systems. “Some provinces are going to adopt the existing local government system of Nazmeen whereas some are considering reverting to the local government system of 1979. Yet some are considering introducing a mixed local government system having the features of current and previous local government system.”
In this regard, the Election Commission is of the view that the law in this regard should be uniform and that consensus among the provincial governments needs to be evolved before finalising any legislation.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2010.
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