LG polls in Punjab and Sindh delayed

* SC allows ECP to issue new schedule for elections after finalising all arrangements * Elections in KP, Islamabad and cantonements to be held as per schedule
LG polls in Punjab  and Sindh delayed

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday announced a delay in the local government elections in Punjab and Sindh.
The ECP recalled the earlier notifications under which the elections in Punjab were to be held on January 30 and in Sindh on January 18, after a decision by the Supreme Court. The apex court had allowed the election commission to review the schedule to make necessary arrangements. After the decision, the commission notified that it was “pleased to recall election schedule for conduct of local government elections in Punjab issued vide its notification of even number dated December 09, 2013”.
Similarly, in a separate notification the commission also recalled the earlier notification issued on December 18, 2013 to announce the election schedule for Sindh. The ECP also stated that fresh election schedule shall be issued after taking necessary steps and completion of pre-requisites in due course of time.
The Supreme Court on Monday accepted the request of the election commission to delay local government elections in Sindh and Punjab. The court ordered the ECP to issue a new schedule for the LG polls after finalising all arrangements. A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani heard the case. During the course of the proceedings, the ECP submitted its reply before the court. The commission contended that it was not possible for it to hold elections in the two provinces on given dates.
The bench allowed the ECP to reschedule the local government elections in the two provinces and adjourned further hearing of the case until first week of February. Later talking to newsmen outside the Supreme Court building, ECP Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan stated that as per directives of the apex court the ECP would announce new dates for local government elections after amendment in law. 
Ishtiaq Ahmed said the local government polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and cantonment areas would be held as per schedule, on February 28. A meeting in this regard would be held on January 15 to finalise arrangements, he added. Replying to a question, the ECP secretary said the delimitation process would be carried out as per the court orders.
The election commission had on Saturday modified the schedule of local government polls in Sindh and Punjab. It had allowed candidates to withdraw their candidature by January 15. The commission said that final list of contesting candidates would be published on January 16, subject to any order of the Supreme Court. The notification stated that in order to “facilitate political parties and others for submission of party certificates before the returning officer concerned... the election commission is pleased to modify the election schedule issued”. 

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