ISLAMABAD - The political parties included in Pakistan Democratic Alliance [PDM] had made a new parliamentary record for the first time making successful a no-confidence motion against any prime minister in the country’s political history.
The coalition of 11 parties, in a tough political scenario, mostly remained intact as they exhibited unity for the last time in the Council of Common Interests [CCI] meeting when they approved the new census. The representatives of major political parties–PPP and PML-N gave consent over digital population consensus without raising a single objection on it.
The approval of the new population census constitutionally binds the top election regulatory authority to conduct the general elections over new delimitation of constituencies. The electoral watchdog has pledged to finalise the delimitation of federal and provincial constituencies by December 14, effectively indicating that the polls would not take place within the mandatory 90-day period following the assembly dissolution.
“The arrangements mentioned in Article 218(3) are not limited to the appointment of DROs, ROs, AROs, printing of ballot papers but also include preparation of updated Electoral Rolls in terms of Article 219(a) and delimitation of constituencies,” the regulator conveyed, hinting at bit delay in the polls process.
It needs to understand that Section 17 of the Elections Act states, “The commission shall delimit constituencies after every census is officially published.” In line with this requirement, the commission has started the process of fresh delimitation of national and provincial assembly constituencies.
Albeit the electoral watchdog under immense pressure to either not touch delimitation of constituencies or complete it in a short time, yet the country’s top election regulator [ECP} seemingly determined to delimit electoral constituencies as per digital population census.
The political parties and envoys of main countries, in consultative process, have started suggesting expediting the process to complete it in 90 days.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf [PTI], the main opposition party in the previous regime, is the only political faction that insisted the ECP to not go for the delimitation of constituencies at this political juncture. This political summersault of the main political party–PPP, in the current political situation, is being seen as much ‘meaningful’.
Knowing the fact that the consent on CCI’s decision will bind the top election body to conduct the upcoming general elections on digital population census, the PPP has now changed its opinion a little. It has started stressing the electoral watchdog to conduct the polls within 90 days, which can only be possible if the ECP would not go for the delimitation of constituencies. The shift in the stance of PPP, political observers believe, will politically help PTI which is in the interest of conducting the polls as soon as possible.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s election regulator is so far defending its move to delimit electoral constituencies citing constitutional obligation about CCI’s approval. The top election regulator has held separate parleys with the main political parties before finally announcing the date for general elections.
The electoral watchdog, political observers viewed, would face some difficulty in some areas of Sindh and Punjab in the delimitation of constituencies. Some districts from Upper Punjab and interior Sindh might go for the appeal which could delay the process.