ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan has issued the schedule for carrying out delimitation of union councils across Punjab, paving the way for much-anticipated local government polls in the province.
Article 222(b) of the Constitution, sections 17 and 221 of the Elections Act, 2017 and Section 10 of the Punjab Government Act, 2022, empower the election commission to do the needful.
The completion of all administrative arrangements, including the procurement of maps, fresh notification of demarcations, printing of various forms, appointment and training of delimitation committees and authorities, and preparation of preliminary list of constituencies by the delimitation committees, is set for December 15, according to the timeline issued by the election commission here.
For inviting objections, the delimitation committees will publish a preliminary list of constituencies as of January 07, whereas objections can be filed before the delimitation authorities from January 09 to January 23, followed by the disposal of objections by delimitation, for which 26 days have been fixed, from January 09 to February 03.
The last date for communication of decisions of delimitation authorities to delimitation committees is February 9. The final publication of a list of constituencies by the delimitation committee is February 12.
In its previous meeting, the election commission had decided to hold the LG election in the largest province during the last week of April next year. The meeting was informed that the commission had to work twice for the delimitation of constituencies to conduct local elections as the local government laws had been changed twice, though the terms of local bodies in Punjab ended on January 1, 2022.
The forum was also informed that since the Punjab government notified the Punjab Local Government Act on November 16, 2022, the election commission was going to carry out delimitation for the third time.
The election commission officials had asked the Punjab government representatives, present in the meeting, to immediately provide copies of the Election Commission Rules and other data to the Punjab Election Commissioner and district election commissioners to enable them to start work as soon as possible. Also, the representatives of provincial government should be consulted on the date for holding elections in the province immediately, so that local government elections could be held at the earliest. However, the Punjab government officials said draft rules would be placed before the cabinet meeting as per the Election Commission of Pakistan’s feedback, and after approval of the rules, their copies would be made available to the election commission. In a related development, the commission said polling for the first phase of local government elections will be held on December 11 in two districts of Balochistan, Lasbela, and Hub, as well as in the Municipal Committee Haramzai of Pishin district.
For the electoral exercise, the process of handing over election material to presiding officers concerned was underway Saturday. A total of 259 polling stations and 690 polling booths have been set up in Hub and Lasbela districts, where the number of male voters is 153,236 and the number of female voters is 119,087. Likewise, 13 polling stations and 30 polling booths have been set up for the election of Haramzai Municipal Committee in the Pishin district. The number of male voters is 6,151, and the number of female voters is 4,739 in this area. In the Haramzai Municipal Committee, 79 candidates are running.
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