ECP decides Dec 31 as new date for Islamabad LG polls

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Zubair Qureshi

The Election Commission of Pakistan has revised the earlier date of Dec 24 for the local bodies’ election in Islamabad Capital Territory and announced the new date i.e. Dec 31. The election plan for Islamabad has been modified after the Christian community of the federal capital appealed to Chief Election Commissioner to change the date as on Dec 24 they would be busy in preparing for Christmas Day celebrations.

In a notification shared with media on Friday, the ECP announced “The Election Commission of Pakistan is pleased to revise the already notified poll day for the conduct of Local Government Election in Islamabad Capital Territory and fix 31st December, 2022 as poll day.”

According to sources in the ECP, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) while taking notice of the concerns expressed by Christian community regarding fixation of Dec 24 as poll day, directed the office to revise it as their concerns were genuine and most of the Christian community members would be denied their right of vote if the polls were conducted on Dec 24.”

A day earlier, Pakistan Observer had published news reflecting the sentiments of the Christian community of Islamabad and brought to the commission’s notice their feelings. While talking to Pakistan Observer, Member (Minorities) of the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) Manzoor Masih welcomed the decision and thanked the ECP for listening to and acting on the genuine demand of the Christian community.

Masih in a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner a few days ago had requested for postponement of local bodies elections in the city on Dec 24 and said the day would be coinciding with Christmas and would affect preparations for the festival.

In the letter he had stated that the NCHR’s vision was to see a progressive Pakistan where human rights of all faiths, races and ethnicity were respected and celebrated.

“Through our dedicated team across Pakistan, NCHR is committed towards fulfilling its mandate of promoting and protecting the human rights of all citizens. Being the NCHR member (minority), I want to bring the concern of Christian residents of Islamabad to your kind notice regarding the election of local government in Islamabad Capital Territory being held on Dec 24. The day of polling is not suitable for the Christian residents of Islamabad as the majority of them will be busy in preparation for Christmas,” he added.

While talking to Pakistan Observer, Manzoor said it was not only a matter related with faith it was also a political issue and could have serious repercussions.

For instance, out of 101 UCs of Islamabad Capital Territory, in almost 80 or 85, Christian candidates would either be contesting or supporting some candidate. So Dec 24 would not only affect their campaign, thousands of Christian voters could also miss their right of vote on this blessed day. I am glad the CEC has realized it and revised the date, he said.

 

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