The absence of the Local Government setup in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has raised many eyebrows as despite frequent notices from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) the KP government is yet to hold the Local Government elections.
The PTI has already missed the constitutional deadline for holding LG elections within 120 days. As section-219 (4) of the Elections Act 2017 states that the fresh elections for new local government representatives must be conducted within 120 days after the expiry of the previous term. The previous local governments completed their term on August 28 and the government is yet to fulfill its responsibility by holding the LG elections.
On the other hand, the pace of development works in KP is likely to remain sluggish due to the absence of LG putting a question mark on the future of Annual Development Funds of Rs over 40 billion allocated for districts to be spent by the local government.
Last year the Annual Developmental Funds of Rs46 billion were not fully unitised due to the absence of a proper LG system due to which the PTI government has been under huge criticism. The ruling party Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) after missing the constitutional deadline is still reluctant to conduct local government elections in provinces as apparently, it faces many challenges.
Sources privy to the KP-government said that district administrations across the country will utilise LG funds in the absence of local bodies but the question arises, how, as district administration or DC’s cannot spend these funds as it is against the LG rules.
A senior official of ECP while commenting on the matter told the Voice of KP that despite frequent ECP notices, the KP government is yet to share complete details of delimitations, maps, and amendments in election legislation, etc. with the commission despite repeated concern by the commission over non-provision of the required information relating to the proposed rules including necessary notifications, maps, chronological order of census blocks of religious minorities, and other related documents from all the provinces.
Besides pressure and criticism from the other quarters, the opposition in KP Assembly has also raised finger at the amendment in Local Government Act 2013 as unlike 2015 local bodies, the new setup will have two tiers of government (Tehsil/Town Councils and the Village/Neighbourhood Councils) after the amendment the KP Local Government Act 2013 and the district council has been revoked.
Meanwhile former secretary to ECP, Kunwar Dilshad is of the opinion that the PTI government was not serious to hold LG elections in the provinces. He said that despite frequent notices by the ECP, the government is in no mood to hold LG elections and the reason was clear that they will not b able to win a clear majority across the province.
When contacted, an official of the KP government said that they were ready to hold the LG elections with no further delay but due to the Covid19 outbreak, they had postponed the process to avoid risking the lives of the masses.