Provincial Election Commissioner Punjab Saeed Gul said on Monday that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), being a constitutional institution, could not be pressurised through interference in holding of the local government elections in the province. Addressing a press conference at the Provincial Election Commission Office here, he said that the delimitation process pertaining to the local government elections in Punjab was in progress, adding that initial delimitation lists had been issued on January 7, 2023. He said any objections could be submitted from January 9 to January 23 to the delimitation authorities.
The authorities would make a decision on the objections till February 9, 2023, he added. The final delimitation list would be issued till February 12, 2023, he said. The provincial election commissioner said that the ECP had issued schedule of delimitation on Dec 8 regarding holding of local government elections in Punjab besides forming committees for delimitation, adding that demarcation committees had completed delimitation process as per Section 10 and 11 of the Punjab Local Government Act 2022.
Saeed Gul said that the ECP, after consultation with all stakeholders, had issued the demarcation schedule as the ECP always performed its tasks including electoral process with responsibility and as per law. The provincial election commissioner said that the ECP had always given proper chance to all stakeholders to raise objections, adding that the due process was followed before displaying the initial delimitation lists.
The initial demarcation lists had been displayed at the district election commissions’ offices, he added. Before the start of delimitation process for the local government elections, the Punjab government was approached many times to identify the strength of union councils; however, the provincial government enacted a law to form a union council as per population base of 25,000; however, a representative of provincial government was also part of the delimitation committees, he added.
Saeed Gul said that the ECP had increased number of union councils in Rawalpindi and its adjoining areas as the provincial government made most of the rural areas part of Rawalpindi in 2019. The 25,000 population threshold for a union council, set by the provincial government, was implemented by the ECP after which the number of union councils in Rawalpindi had increased.
Regarding the union councils in Murree, he said that the union councils’ strength in Murree was greater as it was a municipal corporation in 2015, but now it has become a district council after which its union council’s number has decreased to 14 UCs as per the 25,000 population base criteria, he explained.
To a question, he said that the delimitation process for local governments was independent and impartial, adding that some elements were trying to hatch propaganda about delimitation and impartial role of the ECP for political gains.