ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan [ECP] has concluded that the delimitation of constituencies under the fresh digital population census should be completed in three months.
However, the final decision is yet to be taken over a tentative timeframe to finalize the constituencies.
The ECP, which met here yesterday, formally started deliberations for delimitation of constituencies, following the directions of Council of Common Interests [CCI] to hold the general elections on the fresh digital population census.
It the first meeting over delimitation of constituencies, the Commission contemplated different options in the light of a presentation by the legal team. The meeting reached a conclusion regarding the delimitation timeframe of constituencies.
According to sources, the meeting discussed in length the process of delimitation of constituencies and said that this process should not exceed to three months. The division of constituencies [National and Provincial] over the current population census record is believed to affect some seats [constituencies] in Punjab and Sindh due to possible litigations and appeals from different controversial districts, experts believed. The top election body, in redistricting of constituencies, has to think over a plethora of tricky suggestions to avoid any complexity which leads to delay in polls. According to the previous practice, the normal population was around 0.3 million for national assembly and over 0.4 for the provincial assemblies. But, as per the new population consensus [Digital census] the division can be increased to 0.6 million for national assembly and 0.7 million for provincial assembly, experts opined. The Article 51(3) of the 1973 Constitution says, “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.” The commission issued instructions to the caretaker governments to guarantee a fair and balanced playing field for all candidates and political parties in the upcoming general elections. The Commission, in a notification, also banned transfers and postings of public officers to ensure transparent elections. The Commission also instructed the interim governments to abstain from declaring or initiating any new development projects at both the federal and provincial levels, except for those that were already in progress or approved prior to the issuance of the notification. About the formula for redistricting, some experts believed, it depends on their respective electoral systems and constitutional provisions. This process would not take much time if not politicized. They said that there would be no difficulty in the delimitation of constituencies in Federal Capital, KPK and Balochistan but problems may emerge in some of the constituencies of Punjab and Sindh.