Elections on basis of 2023 digital census not possible on time: Law minister

Tarar says entire delimitation process should not go beyond 150 to 165 days

ISLAMABAD   -   Federal Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar Saturday said that that it will take more than five months to hold next general elections on the basis of the2023 digital census. Talking to a private TV channel, Tarar said that a meeting of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) headed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif “unanimously” confirmed the 2023 census results.

As per Article 51 of the Constitution, the general elections for the national and provincial assemblies will be conducted as per the limits of the constituencies published by the Commission, he added.

The law minister said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is to complete the delimitation process within an outer limit 120 days. However, it is the prerogative of the ECP as when they start the process. He maintained that the census 2023 results show that provinces’ share in the general seats of the National Assembly will not change in the next elections.

The outer limit of 120 days can be reduced by effective work, the law minister said, adding that 54 more days are required for the general elections. The entire process should not go beyond 150 to 165 days, he clarified.

The law minister said that all eight members of the CCI agreed on holding the upcoming elections on the basis of Census 2023. PM Shehbaz Sharif, all four chief ministers and other members of the body were among the attendees of the meeting, he added. Earlier on Saturday, the Council of Common Interest (CCI) meeting “unanimously” approved the 2023 census. PM Shehbaz Sharif chaired a meeting of the CCI to decide the fate of the 2023 census amid reports of division among the coalition partners over the matter.

The meeting was attended by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, according to sources. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar, Adviser to the PM on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Qamar Zaman Kaira and other officials also participated in the huddle.

The Ministry of Planning briefed the participants on the digital census. Moreover, the results of 2023 census were also presented during the CCI meeting.

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