There has been a long tradition of local government (LG) polls in Pakistan being delayed for large periods of time. With the recent timely LG elections being held in KP, there was hope that LG polls would be held in time in Sindh. However, it appears that this unfortunate tradition of delayed elections may be followed for some time longer in Sindh. The PPP government’s proposal had been wanting to defer the local government elections in the province for some time and now all major opposition parties, including the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and the Grand Democratic Alliance, have expressed support for deferment of the LG polls.

According to the Elections Act, 2017, new elections must be held within 120 days of the expiry of the tenure of the last local government. Nevertheless, while this delay is unfortunate, it appears to be the sensible thing to do considering all parties were unanimous in their wish for deferment. There was a big question mark on some of the information required for conduction of the LG polls—the amendments made by PPP to the local government law, the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013, had been hotly contested, and it is perhaps prudent that LG polls are held after this disagreement has been hashed out. An election where there is ambiguity about the law and transparency benefits no one.

However, the amendments should not be used as an excuse to delay the polls indefinitely. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had previously set June 26 as the date of polling in the Sukkur, Larkana, Shaheed Benazirabad and Mirpurkhas divisions in the first phase. It is advisable that any delay decided upon must be accompanied by a strict deadline, and a workable timeframe must be reached as soon as possible.