ECP says LB polls can't be held by Sept 15
06 August, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Though no official communication has been made with the Supreme Court, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday ruled out the possibility of holding the local bodies (LB) polls by September 15.
As things stand today, it is out of the question to foresee an evolution of consensus among the political stakeholders in one province, let alone developing a unified approach in the four federating units in a limited period.
It is interesting to note that after the resignation of Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, the chief election commissioner, there could be calls for the installation of a new CEC first. On the other hand, some political parties, including Pakistan People's Party Parliamentarians, have already asked the ECP members to go home as well.
If other parties also join the demand, a new situation can arise. On its part, the electoral body is seized with conducting the by-election to fill the 16 seats of the National Assembly and 26 seats of the provincial assemblies on August 22.
A senior official at the Election Commission Secretariat told that the proposed electoral exercise would take at least another four to five months in view of the inablitiy of the four provinces to enact the related laws.
None of these provinces, he pointed out, had hitherto evolved a consensus on a piece of legislation on how the local governments would work. In such a scenario, it would be out of the question to expect the proposed exercise taking place within two months.
"We have already written to the federating units to try to make laws that should have similarity, as this will help the ECP in holding the polls in a well-coordinated way," the official maintained.
An informal round of consultations was held here at the Election Commission Secretariat, where the ECP Secretary Ishtiak Ahmad Khan was also present, to review the progress so far made in connection with the holding of LB polls.
The meeting noted that even if the provinces had enacted the laws today, even then the commission would require at least three months for completing the entire process.
However, prior to issuanceof the schedule, all the four provinces are required to conduct the process of delimitation and then display the preliminary lists for objections and after this, the final lists of delimitation will be issued.
Another ECP official explained that the commission needed four to five days to thrash out a schedule for the polls once the legislative process is completed that would then entail filing of nomination papers, filing of appeals and objections, decisions thereon and then withdrawal of candidates and issuance of the final lists of candidates.
He also noted that the unpredicted weather patterns could also jeopardise the electoral exercise even if in a miraculous way, the LB laws were enacted in next few days, delimitation completed and then the poll schedule issued.