ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Election Commission (ECP) has agreed not to hold any pending by-polls prior to 31 January.
A positive response from the Pakistan Peoples Party was evoked by the decision taken in the light of the advice of the National Command and Operation Centre overseeing coronavirus-related affairs, noting that the conduct of by-elections is a statutory duty that must be fulfilled.
By-polls are due for two seats of the National Assembly and six of the provincial assembly.
The decision was taken at an ECP meeting chaired here on Tuesday by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja.
Senate Chairman Sassui Palijo, the Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs and PPP representative, voiced outrage about the decision and urged the ECP to revoke the decision.
Requisites for LG polls in KP
The ECP demanded that the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa complete the criteria for conducting local government polls in the province at the earliest.
Days after the issuance of a Supreme Court order, the Commission took up the matter, defining the absence of local bodies in KP as a barbaric violation of the rules and demanding compliance with the Constitution and the law.
On August 28, 2019, the term of local authorities in KP ended and the provincial government continues to drag its heels on the elections, like the governments of other provinces.
The ECP was briefed in Khyber Pakhtun-khwa on the measures taken so far by the commission to conduct the LG elections. The meeting was told that the ECP had completed delimitation in 27 KP districts; however, notification of the number of village and neighbourhood councils in seven divisional districts had yet to be released by the provincial government.
It was also informed that according to Section 219(3) of the Elections Act, the provincial government shall inform the election rules and report to the ECP on the conduct of LG polls.
The Secretary of the KP Local Government told the Commission that the Provincial Government had set up a subcommittee of the Cabinet headed by the Minister of Provincial Law, which would send its recommendations to the Cabinet before December 10 to conduct the polls. He also told the ECP that notices would be released within a couple of days for village and neighbourhood councils in seven districts, although other formalities would also be fulfilled within a matter of days.