Islamabad: Pakistan’s election commission on Thursday decided to conduct a fresh delimitation of Constituencies on the basis of the new census, delaying the general elections which were scheduled to be held within the 90-day constitutional period since the dissolution of Parliament.

The announcement by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) came soon after an 18-member Cabinet of newly appointed caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar took the oath to run the cash-strapped country until the general elections. The new Cabinet comprises professionals and non-political figures.

The five-year tenure of the 342-member lower house of Parliament was scheduled to expire on August 12. However, then prime minister Shehbaz Sharif dissolved the National Assembly three days ahead of its mandated period to get 90 days time for holding elections.

According to the schedule announced by the ECP on Thursday, the delimitation would be completed on December 14, which is beyond the 90-day period to hold polls after the dissolution of the assembly.

“In pursuance of Article 51 of the Constitution and Section 17(2) of the Election Act of 2017, the ECP has approved the schedule for carrying out delimitation of the constituencies afresh in accordance with official results of 7th population and Housing Census-2023,” the ECP stated in a notification.

The National Assembly was dissolved on August 9 and the elections should be held before November 9 but in the existing scenario, the upcoming polls could be delayed for a couple of months to let the ECP complete the entire process leading to polling.

The first-ever digital census 2023 was approved just days before the previous government’s term concluded and once the census data was officially released, the ECP was obligated to initiate the delimitation procedure.

It is not the first time that the polls have been delayed, as elections were not held within the 90-day period in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces where the provincial assemblies were dissolved in January.

Pakistan is currently in the throes of an economic crisis.

The Pakistan government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reached a long-awaited staff-level agreement on June 29 to inject a USD 3 billion Standby Arrangement (SBA) into the ailing economy after months-long negotiations that pushed the country to the brink of default. PTI

Pak elections delayed as ECP decides to conduct fresh delimitation of Constituencies added by on
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