LG polls in Punjab, KP a distant dream sans new CEC.

 
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Byline: Maqbool Malik

ISLAMABAD -- The aspiration of prime minister and his PTI-led ruling alliance to seek early local government elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces would remain immaterial until a permanent Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is reconstituted.

Sources in the ECP told The Nation on Saturday that there is no power or authority except the Election Commission of Pakistan which can hold elections either to both Houses of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), provincial assemblies or other public offices as may be specified by law under Article 218 of the Constitution.

'If the government desires to seek LG polls at the earliest, it will have to reconstitute a permanent Election Commission of Pakistan for that purpose at the earliest,' a senior official clarified.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) remains dysfunctional since 8th December following retirement of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) on December 7, and as per rules there has been no consensus so far over the appointment of the CEC and two ECP members.

Two members of the ECP including Abdul Ghaffar Soomro from Sindh and Shakeel Baloch from Balochistan retired in January this year and there has been no consensus so far between the government and the opposition as per procedure laid down in the constitution to fill the vacant posts of the CEC and two members of the ECP.

ECP remains dysfunctional since December 8

Sources further said that no government: federal or provincial: could hold election even on a vacant post of councillor of village council. So there was no question of fresh elections of local governments which have already completed their lawful term.

Since there has been no consensus between the prime minister and the leader of opposition as required under the constitution, the matter was referred to a parliamentary committee to sort out the issue, but so far there is no progress.

The Article 213 of the Constitution says, '(2 A) The prime minister shall in consultation with the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, forward three names for appointment of the...

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