Pakistan's Election Commission likely to announce polls schedule before delimitation ends

The CEC also talked about the pressure from other political parties for the yet-to-start delimitation exercise prior to the elections, a participant in the meeting told Dawn.
Headquarters of the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad. (Photo | Wikimedia Commons)
Headquarters of the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad. (Photo | Wikimedia Commons)

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan may announce the schedule for the polls ahead of the completion of the delimitation of constituencies of national and provincial assemblies in the country, Dawn reported citing sources. 

The sources informed that the election date will be declared in days. They said the issue was discussed during the commission’s consultative meeting with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on a roadmap to the general elections on Tuesday.

In the meeting, PPP urged the EXP for the immediate announcement of the schedule for the electoral exercise. The commission assured the party of looking into its request.

The meeting, chaired by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, was attended by the secretary, members and senior officers of the commission. The PPP delegation comprised Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, Sherry Rehman, Taj Haider, Syed Naveed Qamar, Murad Ali Shah and Faisal Karim Kundi.

As per Dawn, the PPP said the polls should be done in 90 days, not delimitation, priority of Constitution; consultation with Awami National Party (ANP), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) teams today.

The CEC also talked about the pressure from other political parties for the yet-to-start delimitation exercise prior to the elections, a participant in the meeting told Dawn.

According to a press release issued by the ECP, the PPP delegation insisted that holding general elections within 90 days of the dissolution of assemblies was a constitutional requirement.

It, however, said since the ECP had already announced the schedule for delimitation, it should squeeze the timeline for the exercise, announce the date and schedule for the polls and ensure the conduct of the electoral exercise as soon as possible.

The PPP said this would help revive the economy, lower the political temperature and end uncertainty, reported Dawn.

The CEC, while hinting at squeezing the timeline for delimitation, assured the party that the process would be completed at the earliest, followed by the immediate conduct of elections.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, PPP leader, Nayyar Bukhari said it would be a violation of the constitution if the elections are not held within 90 days of dissolution of assemblies.

PPP vice president, Senator Sherry Rehman said, "We look towards the ECP for upholding the Cons­ti­tution which means free, fair and timely elections."

She said the conduct of elections within the stipulated period, and not delimitation, was a priority under the Constitution.

The senator said the country was going through an extraordinarily difficult economic phase. "Be­­fore it gets worse it would be best if an elected government comes in with a clear mandate to make the changes needed for public relief," she observed, according to Dawn.

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