ECP proposes phase-wise LG polls in Punjab, Sindh to SC

Apex court has already given final deadline of September 20 for conducting LG polls in Punjab, Sindh


Irfan Ghauri July 22, 2015
PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: After massive administrative mismanagement witnessed during Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) local government elections in May this year, election authorities approached the apex court on Wednesday and proposed phase-wise polls in Punjab and Sindh.

Sources in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) told The Express Tribune that a petition was filed in the Supreme Court (SC) before the Eid holidays in this regard.

Read: LG polls : Over 40,000 new voters registered

Earlier this year, the SC had given a final deadline of September 20 for conducting LG polls in Punjab and Sindh.

“Keeping in view the terrible experience we had in K-P, where LG polls were held in the entire province on same day, we want to organise elections in Sindh and Punjab in phases,” an official of the ECP said.

During the LG polls in K-P, which was held after a gap of 11 years, administrative mismanagement resulted in chaos, raising questions over the credibility of the entire exercise. The ECP and K-P government shifted blame on each other over the mismanagement of polls.

The poll body claimed that it had advised the PTI-led K-P government to hold LG polls in three stages. However, the provincial government did not agree with the proposal, saying the results of first phase will serve as trend in subsequent phases, the official added.

“Given the size of population and expected number of contestants in these two provinces (Punjab and Sindh), holding of LG polls will be a much bigger and even more complicated administrative exercise.”

Read: Lg polls conduct: PTI forms disciplinary committee

In a recent meeting between the secretaries local government of both Punjab and Sindh and ECP officials, it was decided to jointly move a petition before the SC to seek phased polls.

“There were 147,000 officials on election duties in K-P. For Punjab and Sindh you can well imagine how much administrative staff will be needed if polls in the two provinces are held on the same day,” the ECP official said.

“Number of LG constituencies are a lot more than the general elections for national and provincial assemblies,” he added.

Elections in these two provinces are due since 2009 when the last local government system, introduced by former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf in 2000, expired.

Read: PHC dismisses petitions against K-P LG re-polls

After restoration of democracy in 2008, provincial governments have been backing out of commitments to hold local government elections on one pretext or the other.

It is expected that SC will take up the petition next week.

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