The Election Commission (EC) on Thursday scheduled March 22 for holding elections in 752 Union Parisad (UP), the smallest rural administrative and local government unit.
EC Commi-ssioner Shah Nawaz has formally announced the schedule of the first phase elections before journalists at his office.
He said that the last date of nomination paper submission is on February 22, scrutiny on February 23-24, withdrawal of nominations on March 2 and distribution of symbols on March 3.
He said that the second phase of the polls in 710 UP will be held on March 31, the third in 711 UP on April 23, the fourth in 728 UP on May 7, the fifth in 714 UP on May 28 and the sixth in 660 UP on June 4.
"These phase by phase dates have been fixed taking SSC and HSC examinations into consideration. The EC is announcing the schedule of the first phase while the schedule for the remaining phases will be announced later by Returning Officers," he explained.
At least 4,279 out of 4,555 UP are ready to go to the polls.
Aspirants for the post of Chairman can vie in the elections with political symbols but the competition for Member and Reserved Seat (Women) posts will be on non-party line.
Shah Nawaz, in the meantime, has warned the law-enforcing agencies of legal consequence if they are found negligent of duty during the elections.
He said, "Some incidents of negligence occurred during the last municipal polls, and we took actions."
"This time, the EC will handle these complaints more stringently. I want to say to the law-enforcing agencies, stern action will be taken in case of dereliction of duty."
He said, "The EC has taken decision to hold the polls after consulting with the law-enforcers. So, the negligence or failure on their part will be dealt with a firm hand."
Replying to a question, the Commissioner said that none can cast fake vote as all the voters have their photos in the voter lists.
"If anyone casts fake votes, legal action will be taken against him or her."
On another question as to who will control the mass media-administration or EC, he said, "I can say obviously that the media always try to provide us news. So, they (media men) will provide us news by entering polling centres. But they will not be allowed to stay there for a long time."
But the Commissioner avoided a direct answer to the question.