ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has said that although it is fully committed to holding elections, it will take at least four months to complete the demarcation of the border.
In October 2022, the ECP informed President Dr. Arif Alvi in a letter that elections can be held safely, justly and equitably in accordance with Article 18(3) of the Constitution.
The Commission stated that it is an independent constitutional entity with a sacred duty to organize and conduct elections in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Constitution, and to make the necessary arrangements to ensure that elections are conducted honestly, fairly, fairly, in accordance with the law and free from corruption Behavior.
It added that the demarcation of constituencies is one of the basic steps of an election. In accordance with Section 51(5) of the Constitution and Section 17 of the Electoral Act 2017, constituencies are divided on the basis of the population figures from the last official census.
The provisional results of the sixth national census in 2017 were published on 3 January 2018, therefore the Commission delineated the National and Provincial Councils based on the above results, as part of Article 51(5) of the Constitution for the 2018 National .
“It must be mentioned here that the final release of the official census results is a constitutional requirement to draw constituencies to national and provincial councils for the next general election,” the ECP added.
So the committee made a concerted effort to finally release the official census results. In this regard, a letter was written to the Ministry of Law and Justice, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, the Statistics Office and the Secretaries of the Senate and National Assembly, respectively.
It added that through the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, the former FATA was merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The 12 seats allocated to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) were abolished and 6 seats were allocated to KPs based on population, thus reducing the number of seats in the National Assembly from 272 to 266.
For this reason, a new demarcation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has to be done, but this is not possible as the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has not released the official census results.
Finally, the Committee on the Common Interest (CCI) released the results of the 6th national census, after which the committee began demarcation and approved a timetable for the delineation of national and provincial council constituencies.
At the same time, the government decided to conduct a new digital census. As a result, the committee was forced to halt the demarcation process for which the timetable had been approved, the letter said.
Subsequently, a letter was sent to the Department of Parliamentary Affairs requesting that the new digital census results be completed and published by the end of 2022, in order to initiate and complete the demarcation process in time for the completion of the digital census by March 2023.
However, the electoral commission did not receive any response from the authorities, further delaying the demarcation process.
The letter said the Elections Commission is not the only authority making decisions about elections and, by law, still relies on the federal and provincial governments to provide the feedback it needs.
If any government does not act or delays in carrying out its duties and assisting the Commission, no one can imagine that delays in demarcation work should be blamed on the Commission.