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ISLAMABAD: Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has demanded of the electoral body to make sure the “people of Pakistan do not stay deprived of their elected representatives— by ensuring timely conduct of the general elections” within the constitutionally-mandated 90-day time period.

A delegation of JI leaders on Monday called on the senior officials of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on the poll body’s invitation.

The delegation comprised Ameerul Azeem, Farid Paracha, Professor Muhammad Ibrahim, Mian Aslam, Muhammad Nasrullah and Raja Arif Sultan.

Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja headed the ECP side. The delegates were of the view that the ECP should have announced the schedule for general elections when it launched the constituencies’ delimitation exercise for general polls.

It is the duty of the ECP to ensure that the general elections are held within the 90-day constitutionally-mandated time period, the delegates said.

The poll body, to this effect, needs to make sure that the people of Pakistan do not stay deprived of their elected representatives— by ensuring timely conduct of the general elections, the JI leaders said.

Separately, a Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) delegation called on the ECP officials on Monday on the electoral body’s invitation.

The MQM-P delegates comprised Farooq Sattar, Javed Hanif, Zahid Malik and Yasir Ali. The delegates supported the ECP’s decision to launch the delimitation exercise, saying the MQM-P had reservations over the results of the population census 2017 which had been addressed in the digital population census 2023.

The CEC said the demands/concerns of the political parties would be looked into, and the commission would play its role in restoring public confidence on the electoral process.

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 on August 17, the limits of the revenue units (across the country) stood frozen from 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.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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