ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said although it was fully committed to hold elections, yet it would require at least four additional months to complete the exercise of delimitation.
The elections could safely be held honestly, justly and fairly as ordained in Article 18(3) of the constitution, in October 2022, the ECP informed President Dr Arif Alvi in a letter.
The Commission said that the it was an independent constitutional entity, entrusted with the sacred duty of organizing and conducting elections in terms of Article 218(3) of the Constitution and to make such arrangements as were necessary to ensure that the election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with law and that corrupt practices were guarded against.
The delimitation of constituencies, it added, was one of the foundational steps towards the election. According to Article 51(5) of the Constitution and Section 17 of the Elections Act, 2017, the delimitation of constituencies was conducted on the basis of population in accordance with the last census officially published.
The provisional results of the 6th National Census 2017 were published on January 3, 2018 and accordingly the delimitation of national and provincial assemblies was carried out by the Commission on the basis of said results as a one-time dispensation granted by the amendment made under Article 51(5) of the Constitution for General Election 2018 for National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies.
“It is imperative to mention here that the final publication of official results of the Census was a constitutional requirement for delimitation of constituencies to the National and Provincial Assemblies for the next General Elections,” the ECP added.
Accordingly, the Commission made concerted efforts and took up the matter of final publication of official census results. In this regard separate letters were written to the Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Bureau of Statistics, and the Secretary Senate and National Assembly respectively.