Amend Law, Constitution For Smooth LG Polls: ECP

Amend Law, Constitution For Smooth LG Polls: ECP
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) released a 14-page order on the postponement of the Islamabad local government polls, proposing amendments to the Constitution and to the Elections Act, 2017, in order to ensure that the process is held smoothly in the future.

"The commission has already proposed certain amendments to the Constitution and the Elections Act, 2017 so that local government elections may be conducted on time without any delay and not be delayed by the provincial governments on one pretext or another", the ECP order said.

Specifically, the ECP has asked the federal government to amend Article 140 (A) of the Constitution, and Section 219 of the Elections Act, 2017.

"We have concluded that... the federal government is competent to establish a local government system and devolve political, administrative, and financial responsibility and authority to the elected representatives of the local governments", the ECP’s full order stated.

"The determination of number of union councils within the Islamabad Capital Territory is the mandate and prerogative of the federal government, and thereafter the election commission has to delimit the constituencies after such demarcation", it read.

However, in its two-page interim order, issued last week on the heels of a federal government notification increasing union councils from 101 to 125, the ECP said this measure was taken without the concurrence of the Commission. This concurrence was required under Section 4(4) of the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Act 2015.

On Tuesday, the ECP’s five-member full bench conducted a hearing in the light of the Islamabad High Court order, and decided to postpone the local government elections in Islamabad "for the time being". Polling was due for local bodies elections in the federal capital on 31 December. "The fresh schedule will be issued in due course," the ECP verdict concluded.