Local polls in Punjab, Sindh on October 31

Islamabad - Election Commission of Pakistan accepts demand of Punjab and Sindh governments to hold the elections on October 31 instead of October 12.

By Our Correspondent

Published: Sun 23 Aug 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 23 Aug 2015, 11:15 AM

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has once again accepted the demand of the Punjab and Sindh governments and announced that the first phase of local government elections will be held on October 31 instead of October 12.
After facing criticism from the Supreme Court for its failure to fulfil a constitutional obligation, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had announced on Wednesday that it would hold the first phase of the long-delayed local government polls in 12 districts of Punjab and 13 of Sindh on October 12.
However, the ECP on Friday issued another notification saying that the provincial governments in Punjab and Sindh have requested to re-consider holding the first phase of elections on October 12.
The Election Commission will issue a notification about the first phase on August 26.
Both the provinces requested the ECP to delay holding the first phase of polls due to "flood situation, involvement of district administration and law enforcement agencies in rehabilitation process and maintenance of law and order during the month of Moharram".
Sindh had expressed reservations on both the date of polling and the inclusion of 13 instead of 8 districts in the first phase of the elections.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) opposed the division of districts in three phases.
Instead it suggested that if the ECP was compelled to hold polls in phases due to inevitable administrative constraints, it should divide the Punjab province into three divisions instead of districts.
Interestingly, hardly any of the districts in both the provinces where elections were scheduled in the first phase in the previously issued schedule had any flood-like situation.
The ECP and these two provinces have missed many deadlines and postponed polls on a number of times during the past six years. Polls have been due in these two biggest provinces since 2009.
Punjab and Sindh which are being ruled by two largest parties - Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) - for almost the past nine years have been resorting to delaying tactics on local government elections on one pretext or the other.
The Supreme Court has been pursuing the case of local government polls for the past many years. On the court's pressure, Balochistan went for the local government polls in December 2013 and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) in May this year.

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