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March 31 local govt polls not to be postponed: ECP

Schedule for LG elections announced

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday rejected a set of petitions seeking to postpone the second phase of local government (LG) polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and declared that the elections will take place on March 31 as per the already issued revised schedule.

The petitioners, who incl­uded candidates, wanted postponement of polls for six weeks over inclement weather conditions in the hilly areas. They had also pleaded that many residents of these areas had temporarily moved to Punjab and a postponement, if not allowed would mean their disenfranchisement.

The KP advocate general sought deferment of the LG polls’ second phase for four months on the grounds of weather and security concerns. The ECP bench headed by Chief Election Commis­sioner Sikandar Sultan Raja said the decision was in compliance with the Supreme Court’s directives given a day earlier for deciding the matter by Tuesday. 

Through a Feb 9 notification, the ECP had already extended the date for the second phase of LG elections in the province from March 27 to 31 after the apex court had suspended the Feb 1 order of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) for postponing the polls.

On Monday, the Supreme Court observed that it would not like to set any wrong precedence by suspending the election schedule, but asked the ECP to come up with an appropriate order after listening to the aggrieved parties and the respondents, namely the KP chief secretary, secretary of the Coordination Unit of Local Government Election and Rural Development Depart­ment, Fida Mohammad and Gul Badshah.–Dawn

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