Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday issued the schedule for second phase of local government elections in the remaining 18 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which would be held on the coming March 27.
According to the schedule: Public notice inviting nominations for LG polls to be issued on February 4, filing of nomination papers: February 7-11, publication of names of nominated candidates: February 12, scrutiny of nomination papers: February 14-16, filing of appeals against acceptance/rejection of nominations: February 17-19, deciding of appeals by the appellate tribunal: February 22, revised list of candidates: February 23, withdrawal of candidature and revised list of candidates: February 25, allotment of election symbols: February 28, polling day: March 27 and consolidation of results: April 1.
On the last month’s 19th, LG elections for village/neighbourhood and tehsil/city councils were held in 17 districts: Peshawar, Buner, Bajaur, Mardan, Swabi, Nowshera, Kohat, Karak, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, Tank, Haripur, Khyber, Mohmand, Charsadda, Hangu and Lakki Marwat.
The polls saw several incidents of widespread violence with fingers categorically pointed at the ECP by political and public circles for its failure to ensure peaceful polls.
On the fifth of this month, the electoral body accused provincial government of KP for ‘miserably failing’ to maintain law and order during the first phase of LG elections, announcing to engage military troops for second phase of LG polls and re-polling at certain polling stations under the first phase.
The contingency plan that KP government provided to ECP ahead of first phase of LG polls did not show any deployment of police personnel for law and order/security purposes during LG polls, the electoral body said in a statement issued then.
Inspector general police and chief secretary KP assured the commission that eight Frontier Constabulary/ KP Police personnel would be deployed at every polling station but only two to three police personnel were deployed at each polling station, the ECP added.
The commission said it wrote a letter to Defence Ministry for the deployment of military in second phase of LG polls and at certain polling stations where re-polling was to be held under first phase.
The second phase of village/neighbourhood and tehsil/city council elections was scheduled on January 16 but it was revised to March 27.
The ECP took this decision on a petition by Murtaza Abbasi from Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) who moved electoral body for delaying the LG polls on account of heavy snowfall in parts of KP.
The 18 districts where LG elections are scheduled on March 27 are: Swat, Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Upper Chitral, Lower Chitral, Shangla, Malakand, Kurram, Orakzai, Abbottabad, Battagram, Kolai Pallas, Mansehra, Torghar, Upper Kohistan, Lower Kohistan, North Waziristan and South Waziristan.
This report was first published in Business Recorder on Jan 21, 2022.