ECP reduces delimitation time frame

ISLAMABAD:

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday announced that it will be reducing the time required to complete the delimitation of constituencies and that the publication of constituencies would now be final by November 30.

“To complete the consultation and feedback process with political parties and delimitation of constituencies as early as possible, the ECP has further reduced the time frame for delimitations,” a statement released by the supervisory body read. “Now the final publication of constituencies will be on November 30, 2023”.

“The purpose of reducing the duration of delimiting constituencies is to ensure holding elections as soon as possible,” it explained.

The statement also added that under the purview of the revised date for the finalisation of constituencies “the election schedule will also be announced”.

The statement was issued today after the ECP summoned an ’emergency meeting’ following discussions with different stakeholders.

The election watchdog had of late conducted back-to-back meetings with officials of different political parties to take into stock their position regarding elections and delimitation, among other things.

In this key meeting, chaired by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja in Islamabad, the ECP deliberated on how it could reduce the time period for completing the delimitation process.

Read West cautions Pakistan against delaying polls

A day earlier, the watchdog had vowed to expedite the delimitation of constituencies and announce a schedule for the upcoming general polls thereafter, alleviating concerns that the ballot could be deferred for an indefinite period to extend the rule of the interim government.

The election supervisor gave assurance to the delegations of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in separate consultative meetings at the ECP Secretariat in the federal capital.

The meetings with these parties came in the backdrop of the ECP ruling out elections this year.

Earlier this week, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) provided the required data for the digital census 2023 to the polls supervisory body.

The digital census was conducted in March-May this year. The results were published after their approval from the Council of Common Interest (CCI) on August 5, just days before the dissolution of the National Assembly.

Following the approval of the census, the ECP is bound to conduct the upcoming general polls on the basis of the latest census whereas the election supervisor has already announced a schedule for revamping the constituencies.

Former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif had dissolved the National Assembly on August 9, three days ahead of its mandated period. The 90-day limit for the ECP to hold elections under the Constitution ends on November 9.

On August 17, the election supervisor had announced that it would revamp all the national and provincial assemblies’ constituencies in light of the digital census within 120 days.

On the other hand, with the apex court having dismissed the ECP’s review petition against its April 4 order to hold polls for the Punjab Assembly on May 14, pressure is mounting on the electoral body either to hold the general elections within 90 days or to approach the court to seek guidance on the question of conducting new delimitation based on the 7th Population Census.


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