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Thursday June 20, 2024

EVMs, I-voting: ECP asks Punjab govt to amend LG law

Election Commission has established an Election Monitoring and Control Centre (EMCC) for the convenience of the general public

By Mumtaz Alvi
April 28, 2024
Security personnel stand guard at the headquarters of the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad on September 21, 2023. — AFP
Security personnel stand guard at the headquarters of the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad on September 21, 2023. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has asked the government of Punjab to amend the local government law at the earliest for the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and I-voting in the pending LG elections.

“Since the general elections across the country have concluded and the assembly and elected representatives are in place, therefore, suitable amendment(s) to the relevant provisions of law in the Punjab Local Government Act, 2022 and Rules framed thereunder may be made at the earliest to proceed further in the matter,” reads a letter sent to the chief secretary Punjab.

In this regard, the Election Commission said it is to inform that Election Commission will convene a meeting with regard to the conduct of local government elections in the Punjab within a month to discuss and finalise the arrangements for the LG elections.

The Election Commission referred to the chief secretary’s letter No.PS/CS/26/2023 dated 05.10.2023, wherein it was stated that suitable amendment to Section-47(1) of the Punjab Local Government Act, 2022 regarding usage of EVM, I-voting and other amendments required in the Local Government Act will be placed before the elected government after general elections and till then, matter may be kept pending. The matter was kept pending in the light of letter referred-above.

The copy of the letter has been also forwarded to the Provincial Election Commissioner for follow-up action.

Under Article 140-A of the Constitution and Section 219 of the Elections Act 2017, the Election Commission of Pakistan is bound to hold elections within 120 days of the expiry of the term of the local government institutions.

Then PTI’s Punjab government had dissolved the local government institutions in April 2019, and after the order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, they were restored but their term expired on 31 December 2021.

Afterwards, for one reason or the other, elections to pave the way for installation of the local government institutions could not be conducted since then.

The provincial government of Punjab has constituted a 20-member committee a day earlier to deliberate upon the Punjab Local Government Act (PLGA), 2022, and propose amendments to the existing law or present a draft of the new local government act. It has been directed to complete the assigned task within 15 days and present its recommendations to the chief minister.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has established an Election Monitoring and Control Centre (EMCC) for the convenience of the general public in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by-elections to be held on April 28, 2024.