Home Latest News Second Phase of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Polls Set for March 27

Second Phase of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Polls Set for March 27

by Newsweek Pakistan

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The provincial government had sought a delay in elections originally scheduled for Jan. 16 due to inclement weather

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday deferred the second phase of local government elections in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa till March 27, over two months after the originally scheduled date of Jan. 16.

Appearing before a three-member bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, the provincial chief secretary noted that the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government had originally requested that the first phase of local government elections be held in December 2021 and the second phase in May 2022. To this, the CEC said that the provincial government had already agreed that the second phase of the local body polls would be held before Ramzan.

“Since the month of Ramzan will begin from April 3 or 4, it will be too late if elections are held in May,” he said. The secretary responded by requesting that the ECP conduct the local body polls around the end of March 2022.

“The last Sunday of that month would fall on March 27,” the CEC said and proceeded to mark it as the new date for the second-phase polling.

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government had earlier urged the ECP to delay the second phase of local body polls over inclement weather and snowfall, maintaining that this would reduce voter turnout. Observers, however, claim part of the reason for the delay is likely the embarrassing defeat the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insad suffered against the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) in the first phase. The longer wait, they say, could potentially help the government overcome the reasons—inflation, poor candidate selection—for its losses.

Foreign funding case

Also on Thursday, the ECP announced it would take up for hearing the foreign funding case against the PTI from Jan 4. The long-pending case—filed in November 2014 by PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar—had been stalled since March 2019 when the ECP formed a scrutiny committee to audit foreign funds of the PTI. That committee submitted its report to the commission on Nov. 26.

Babar has alleged financial irregularities in the party’s accounts, including illegal sources of funding, concealment of bank accounts in the country and abroad, money laundering and use of private bank accounts of party employees as a front to receive illegal donations from the Middle East.

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