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ISLAMABAD: Faced with strong public and political backlash over a likely delay in holding the general elections in the country within the constitutionally-mandated time period, the electoral body has written to the leaders of top political parties of the country including Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and former prime minister Imran Khan for consultative huddles to discuss the electoral roadmap starting today (Thursday).

In this context, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Wednesday, wrote separate letters to the PTI chief, President Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and former PM Shehbaz Sharif, and top leaders of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazal (JUI-F) for consultations over general polls.

The PTI and JUI-F leaders are invited to attend the consultative huddles today (at different time). The PML-N is invited tomorrow (Friday) whereas PPP has been invited on the coming Tuesday.

Elections within 90 days unlikely as ECP decides to go for fresh delimitation

“Keeping in view the current political scenario, the Election Commission has decided to take on board and invite your party to discuss the electoral roadmap with your feedback on the following agenda items:- i. Delimitation of constituencies; ii. Updation of electoral rolls; iii Conduct of general elections; iv. Schedule of Election; v. Other related matters,” reads the letter written to political leaders by ECP Special Secretary Zafar Iqbal Hussain.

The letter requests the politicians to “make it convenient to attend this important meeting” in person or through authorised representatives on the given dates and time.

Recently, the electoral body launched its exercise to delimit the constituencies of the National and provincial assemblies in accordance with the results of the digital population census without consulting any political party.

According to a directive issued by the commission last Thursday, the limits of the revenue units (across the country) stood frozen from Thursday, August 17, and there shall be no change in the limits of the revenue units till the completion of the delimitation process. The final publication of delimitation results is scheduled on December 14, the directive stated.

This indicates that the general elections may not be held before March next year—and that too in case ECP proceeds to hold preparations for general elections in 90 days— immediately after the completion of the delimitation exercise.

It is worth mentioning here that the National Assembly was dissolved on this month’s 9th—a scenario which implies that the general elections are required to be held not later than November 7 this year, within the 90-day period mandated by the constitution. Sindh and Balochistan legislatures were also dissolved in the ongoing month.

Article 224(2) provides that when the NA or a provincial assembly is dissolved, a general election to the assembly shall be held within a period of 90 days after the dissolution, and the results of the election shall be declared not later than 14 days after the conclusion of the polls.

The general elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are already witnessing inordinate delay – keeping in view that both the provincial legislatures were dissolved in January this year and respective caretaker governments are since running the affairs of the two provinces.

The official results of the digital population census were notified by the former federal government on this month’s 7th.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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Ch. K A Nye Aug 24, 2023 03:13pm
What is the ECP doing writing letters to convicted criminals who are absconding?
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