ISLAMABAD - The current political atmosphere is still hazy to ascertain the next panorama of the country, as the approval for digital population census in the Council of Common Interests [CCI] might turn the table. The nod of CCI meeting for new population census hinges upon extending the tenure of upcoming interim setup in the country. Heavyweights of the coalition government are confident to approve the new census unanimously in coming days.
The coalition government has almost made up its mind to hand over administration to interim government in next week and give final touches to the nominee of caretaker Prime Minister of the country.
About delay in the general elections, political and constitutional experts believed that the caretaker and sitting chief ministers would constitutionally bind the Election Commission of Pakistan [ECP] to delay the polls. According to the Article 51(3) of the 1973 Constitution, “the seats in the National Assembly shall be allocated to each province and the federal capital on the basis of population in accordance with the last preceding census officially published.”
“After the approval of the digital census constitutionally the general elections are to be held on the basis of the latest published census,” they said sharing the expected reason behind the long tenure of the upcoming interim government. Some voices also suggest that the decision can also be challenged as to how caretaker CMs will be illegible to take part in policy decisions.
However, political pundits argued that the approval of the bill to give power to interim setup might help countering this logic, if the President easily gives his consent on the bills being passed hastily in the parliament. This last CCI meeting of the present tenure of the coalition government is also considered as last political move of the present government to constitutionally bind the top election body to go for the delimitation of constituencies. The delimitation of constituencies cannot be handled in less than three months, according to experts.
The proposal of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics [PBS] to approve the recently held digital population in the Council of Common Interests has already been given in the last week, some insiders told this newspaper. The CCI, as per the agenda, might give priority to give approval to the recently held digital population census in the country. However, the scheduled CCI meeting has already been postponed and next schedule is still not announced as yet.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has twice shared with the media that the upcoming elections would be held on the basis of the 2023 digital census. However, he clarified that it would be the prerogative of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) to approve the results.
Some other reasons for delay in the polls are the law and order situation in the country, as elections cannot be held in the country without clearance from the interior ministry.
The economic situation could also be a possible reason to delay the elections, as last year the elections in the two provinces [Punjab and KPK] could not be held due to the paucity of funds.