Is the Election Commission using delaying tactics to hold fresh elections in Pakistan?

The delimitations of constituencies are required after the merger of tribal districts in KP province and notifying the final results of 2017 census in the country

The PTI leaders are trying to create a false impression that the Election Commission of Pakistan is not taking the necessary measures to announce the date of fresh elections in the country. The President has already written a letter to ECP for providing him date of new elections in the country so he can announce the date of general elections.
The PTI leaders want ECP to act on their wishes and will without following the constitutional and legal formalities. It is wrong to say that the Election Commission of Pakistan is using delaying tactics because it cannot proceed to hold fresh elections without conducting the new delimitations of constituencies. 
In this situation, the ECP spokesman has officially made it clear that ECP is ready to fulfill its legal, constitutional and national responsibility. In a statement, the The ECP spokesperson said the Election Commission was geared up to fulfill its constitutional and legal responsibilities but other institutions and personalities should also discharge their constitutional and legal duties on time and desist from needless criticism.
The Election Commission has pointed out that new delimitations are not possible without the completing the digital census ordered by the PTI government. He pointed out that the National Assembly’s constituencies were reduced to 266 from 272 after the merger of ex-Fata, reducing its NA seats from 12 to six, and in such situation, delimitation was imperative prior to the conduct of elections. 

Referring to the statements of former ministers and other ex-government officials belonging to PTI, the ECP spokesperson emphasized that the Election Commission was fully aware of constitutional and legal responsibilities and was capable of conducting the elections accordingly and always discharge all its duties as per the Constitution.

Since the national census 2017 was provisional, as it could not be notified, therefore, work on delimitation could not be started. The Election Commission wrote multiple letters to the government functionaries, even the prime minister and Ministry of Parliamentary Commission was fully aware of constitutional and legal responsibilities and was capable of conducting the elections accordingly and always discharge all its duties as per the Constitution.

After its efforts, the census was notified on May 06, last year and the Election Commission issued the schedule for delimitation exercise and then the government decided to carry out digital national census, therefore, the work on delimitation was halted. After that, the Election Commission wrote to the government on September 30, 2021 and January 21 this year for early completion of digital national census, so that delimitation of constituencies could be started. But the digital census could not be completed. However, the Election Commission had resolved to carry out its constitutional and legal responsibilities.

Needless to say, under Section 17(1) of the Elections Act, 2017, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is responsible to delimit territorial constituencies for elections to the National Assembly, each provincial assembly and to local governments in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, the Act, the Rules and the applicable local government law. And Section 17 (2) of the act reads, “The Commission shall delimit constituencies after every census officially published”.

                                                                           Khalid Bhatti 


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