ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan [ECP] will face immense pressure from political parties, in the days to come, to clear the mist and announce the schedule for the general elections as per its commitment to conduct polls in January.
Though the election regulatory body has planned to hold discussion over ‘Code of Conduct’ for the polls 2024, the political parties invited for discussion would mostly prefer to push for an announced schedule. The last legal and constitutional hitch is the finalization of ‘delimitation of constituencies’, which can help the regulatory body to argue with the political forces. The delimitation of constituencies as per schedule will be finalized by the end of November.
The political parties’ first meeting with the Commission remained more or less indecisive as the rest of the matters regarding assurances of immediate result at each constituency etc.
Political and constitutional experts viewed that the Commission has recently asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to engage international observers for the upcoming general elections, which is the main hint of its seriousness to honour its commitment for holding elections as per stated in its tentative schedule.
Leaders of the main political parties have also started their political campaigns in their respective constituencies and it will further gain momentum in the month of November, after the expected return of PML-N supremo Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to the country this month.
The rest of main parties, especially PPP, political pundits believed, are set to make their election strategy after the return of Nawaz Sharif. Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, in his ongoing campaign, has only been stressing to hold the polls as early as possible.
The main political players, talking to this newspaper, shared that MQM-P, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf [PTI] and Pakistan Peoples Party are currently in favour of avoiding delay in elections.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf [PTI], despite facing a hard time, has already asked the electoral watchdog to hold the polls even ignoring delimitation of constituencies.
The delimitation of constituencies was consented in the era of Shehbaz Sharif government through the Council of Common Interests [CCI]. This is considered as the main stumbling block behind the extraordinary delay in the upcoming elections. The political parties are also currently eying on their election symbols that would finally be allotted soon.
The political forces, after finalization of the election schedule, will start the process of awarding tickets to suitable candidates. In the current unsure political situation, political heavyweights viewed, will not be politically appropriate to finalize the process of awarding tickets.
The senior members of the election regulatory body, desiring not to be named, said that the Commission has full preparation of holding the polls by the end of January 2024. The weather condition could be the only factor for the expected little delay in the elections, otherwise no reason is left to delay the constitutional exercise.