ISLAMABAD - The row has deepened between the Election Commission of Pakistan and National Assembly’s Special Committee on Delimitation of Constituencies that may cause delay in the process of general elections due to be held in July this year.
The Election Commission is not ready to budge from its stance that delimitation of constituencies is its sole prerogative and will not accept outside pressure.
In its maiden meeting the National Assembly’s Special Committee dubbed the delimitation of constituencies proposed by the Election Commission full of errors and an anomalous list.
ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad told the Special Committee the Commission will follow the law in its letter and spirit. “You have made the law. We are supposed to implement it as an independent body,” he told members of the Committee which is supposed to firm up recommendations within a week.
Like other members, Chairman of the Special Committee Murtaza Javed Abbasi also criticised the Election Commission for preparing the anomalous list of delimitation of constituencies.
Abbasi was of the view that there were many anomalies in terms of population and the way delimitation was carried out in different districts and asked the members to finalise recommendations at the earliest.
However, the committee established a working group which will discuss the issue on day-to-day basis.
Daniyal Aziz of the PML-N, who is one of the members of the Special Committee, said the parliament had authority and its recommendations should be considered.
PTI MNA Arif Alvi said there were issues in as many as 90 per cent of the constituencies and general elections could be delayed while removing objections.
Iqbal Qadri, MNA from Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan said some rural areas had been placed in urban areas, terming the step unfair.
PPP MNA Nafisa Shah said that some areas of different constituencies had been placed in other constituencies due to which now candidates would have to travel for almost four hours to reach one area of these constituencies from another.
Mahmood Achakzai of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party alleged that the ECP had deliberately tried to provide benefit to some ‘ever green’ politicians.
Minister of Law Mehmood Bashir Virk claimed that his house had been excluded from his constituency and his vote had been transferred to another constituency and, as a result, he could not even file objection over it because only a voter of a constituency could file such an objection.
Chairman of Qaumi Watan Party Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao was of the view that the ECP may ask the members to file appeals after they firmed up recommendations.
On the other hand, the ECP is of the view that delimitation of constituencies is sole prerogative of the Election Commission and it will follow the law.
When contacted the ECP spokesperson said that delimitation is the sole mandate of the Election Commission and as per the law it has displayed the proposed delimitation of constituencies in each district and people can file their objections to the ECP till 3 April.
“If the Election Commission is not satisfied and sets aside the objection then the aggrieved party can approach the Supreme Court for relief”, ECP Director Public Relations Altaf Ahmed told The Nation on Thursday.