ISLAMABAD: The delimitation committees are required to complete their work by today (Tuesday), under the revised deadline fixed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), on the pretext of issuing the preliminary list of the delimited constituencies of the assemblies tomorrow (Wednesday).
On Monday, last week, the ECP said it “strictly instructed” the delimitation committees to complete their work by September 26 “at every cost” in order to issue the preliminary list of the delimited constituencies and the related report on September 27.
Previously, the preliminary list of the delimited constituencies was scheduled to publish on October 9 that was revised to September 26. The entire delimitation exercise is scheduled to complete on November 30.
On the first of this month, the ECP revised the completion date of the delimitation drive for two weeks, from December 14 to November 30 what still appeared to be an indication that the commission would fail to hold the general elections in the country within the constitutionally-mandated 90-day period.
But the commission failed to issue the general polls’ schedule, announcing that it would be issued after the completion of the delimitation exercise.
Last Thursday, the electoral entity announced that the general elections in the country would be held in the last week of January next year, what implies to be an admittance that the poll body would fail not only to hold the general polls timely but this year at least.
Again, the ECP failed to fix any specific date for the polls, a move that attracted strong backlash from major political parties.
The conduct of general elections in the last week of the coming January means that the polls in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be held more than a year after the dissolution of the two provincial assemblies.
Punjab Assembly was dissolved on January 14 and KP Assembly on January 18 this year.
The National Assembly was dissolved on August 9, Sindh Assembly on August 11 and Balochistan Assembly was dissolved on August 12.
Constitutionally, keeping in view the NA dissolution date, the cut-off date to hold the general elections within the 90-day period is November 7 this year.
Article 224(2) of the constitution 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.
With criticism mounting on ECP over delay in holding the general elections, the electoral organisation, last Wednesday, invited the political parties for consultations over proposed code of conduct for the general polls on October 4.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023