Limited printing capacity may delay LB polls

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Besides other hurdles, printing of ballot papers for local bodies’ elections could be the key reason for not holding the polls across the country on a single day, as the Pakistan Printing and Security Printing Corporation requires two-month period for publishing the required 600 million ballot papers.

A senior officer in the ECP said on condition of anonymity that in case all provinces came up with the request of holding LB polls, the ECP could not hold the elections on a single day as the Pakistan Printing Corporation and Security Printing Corporation had no capacity to publish 600 million ballot papers within one month.

“Though the Punjab government after completing required legislation has requested the Election Commission of Pakistan to conduct local body elections in December, the ECP cannot move ahead as the Punjab Local Body Act has been challenged in Lahore High Court. The matter is sub judice and we cannot move forward without the court decision. Whereas, the situation of other provinces is also not very satisfactory as they are yet to complete delimitations. Even KP Assembly is yet to pass the LB bill, let alone start the delimitation process,” the official said.

He said if all provinces, which seemed unlikely, came up with a request for polls, the ECP required at least 90 days for issuing election schedules and getting 600 millions ballot papers published.

“This means the election cannot not be held this year.” He, however, said the ECP could be able to hold election in one or two provinces that too on separate dates this year, and the polls could be held in beginning of the next year in remaining provinces.

To a query about capacity of Pakistan Printing Corporation and Security Exchange Corporation, the officer said both presses could publish 10 million ballot papers per day, and the ECP required 600 million ballot papers.

Meanwhile, the ECP is going to hold an important meeting today (Tuesday) to discuss the progress made by provinces regarding LB polls. All provincial chief secretaries, the Islamabad chief commissioner and NADRA chairman will attend the meeting. Acting CEC Justice Tassduq Hussain Jillani will be in chair.