The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to set a deadline for provinces to hold the local government elections.
It is learnt that the commission, using its constitutional and legal powers, has decided in principle to issue directives to the provincial governments under which they will be bound by a deadline to hold the long-overdue elections.
The decision comes as the commission has already heard arguments from Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in various hearings and is now set to announce its final decision.
Earlier this week, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja had clarified that the ECP would announce its decision regarding the matter only after it has heard all the provinces and urged them to pick up the pace. He directed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to present its plan within three days after liaising with the provincial cabinet.
The ECP has repeatedly asserted that holding the local government elections was within its constitutional and legal responsibility and all executive authorities in the federation and in the provinces were bound to assist the commission in the discharge of its functions under Article 220 of the Constitution.
However, the process has been progressing at a snail’s pace as the provinces continue to cite various grounds for their inability to hold the elections.
On Monday, the ECP informed the Sindh High Court that it had notified delimitation committees for holding local government elections in Sindh, but the provincial government had yet to provide requisite data, which linked the polls with a fresh census.