LG polls in Punjab in last week of April

Mumtaz Alvi
Thursday, Dec 01, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday decided that local government elections in Punjab would be held in the last week of April 2023, whereas the term of LG system in the province had ended on January 1, 2022.

The decision to this effect was taken here at an ECP meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja. Among others, the meeting was attended by ECP members, ECP secretary, chief secretary Punjab and secretary Local Government Punjab.

Raja made it clear to the chief secretary Punjab that the commission had either conducted or was going to hold local government elections in all the provinces, and had issued the election schedule. He pointed out that only Punjab was left out where elections could not be held due to changes in laws and other delaying tactics in different periods. He emphasized that if any change was made in the local government laws now, the commission would use its constitutional powers to ensure the conduct of local government elections. He directed the Punjab representatives to immediately provide copies of ECP rules and other data to the provincial election commissioner and district election commissioners.

Earlier, the commission was briefed by the ECP secretary that the term of local bodies in Punjab had ended on January 1, 2022. The commission had to work twice for delimitation of constituencies to conduct the local bodies elections because local government laws were changed twice. The forum was told that the Punjab government had notified the Punjab Local Government Act on November 16, 2022, under which the commission was going to start delimitation work for the third time. For this, the Punjab government had not yet notified the Punjab Local Government Constituency Rules and the Punjab Local Government Conduct of Election Rules.

The commission reiterated that the Punjab government was committed to assisting conduct of elections on time in the light of the Constitution, law and orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Therefore, the provincial government should be obliged to immediately provide election and delimitation rules and other maps and data to the commission, enabling it to start delimitation work as soon as possible and representatives of the provincial government should be consulted on the date for holding elections in the province today, so that LG elections could be held immediately.

The Punjab government representatives stated that the draft rules would be placed in the next cabinet meeting as per the ECP feedback. And as soon as possible, after the approval of these rules, their copies would be made available to the commission. Similarly, maps and other data were being provided by deputy commissioners to district election commissioners at the district level.

On consultations for the date of elections in Punjab, the chief secretary said that while giving the date for conducting the elections, the month of Ramazan should be kept in mind next month and the commission should decide an appropriate date.