ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday filed a petition in the Supreme Court for a 30-day extension in the date for holding local government elections in Punjab and Sindh province.
The ECP said that it will be difficult to print nomination papers as the Sindh government intends to change election rules.
The commission also informed the apex court that the Punjab government has partially or impartially changed several clauses of the local body election rules through an ordinance.
“The decision has been taken in view of inability expressed by the provincial governments to spare administrative officers for the election process and training due to relief and rehabilitation of flood affected people,” the ECP said.
Yesterday, the ECP had deferred the announcement of schedule for local government elections in Punjab and Sindh.
The ECP had said it had approached the Supreme Court for extension in time of issuance of the schedule till Aug 17, instead of July 28, and expressed the hope that the case would be taken up for hearing in coming days.
The ECP further said it was all prepared to hold the polls as expected but pointed out that certain activities were required to be carried out prior to the announcement of the schedule, including publication of final delimitation of constituencies, revision of electoral rolls on the basis of claims and objections received by the registration officers and completion of legal formalities required for the purpose of elections.
The National Assembly’s standing committee on parliamentary affairs recommended last week that local government elections in Punjab and Sindh planned for Sept 20 be put off in view of floods in the two provinces.
The committee, headed by Mian Abdul Rahman, had previously recommended holding of polls in division-wise phases.
Briefing the committee on the process of local government elections, Election Commission Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad had said the Sindh government would face numerous problems in case polls were held on a single day, including shortage of security and polling personnel and ballot boxes.
He had said the Sindh government had not yet updated and finalised local government election rules, 2013, adding that nomination papers would be printed only after the rules were finalised.
He said the manual of instructions for District Returning Officers (DROs), Returning Officers (ROs) and Assistant Returning Officers (AROs) also would be prepared only after the finalisation of rules.
Both the Sindh and Punjab governments also want holding of polls in phased manner and the Sindh government has already proposed polls in three phases to the ECP.