ISLAMABAD: After holding a number of consultations with the political parties, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday announced that the delimitation process will be finalised by November 30.
In a statement, the electoral body said the purpose of squeezing the duration of the delimitation process is to ensure elections are held as early as possible.
The ECP also said that a date for the elections will also be announced keeping in view the schedule for the delimitation process, adding that the date was announced after deliberation with the parties.
A day earlier, the Election Commission said that polls would be held by mid-February at the most or by January end if the delimitation of constituencies is completed earlier.
The Election Commission has held consultations with political parties including Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Muttahida Qoumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Jamiat Ulema Islam-Faiz (JUI-F) and others regarding the road map to general elections.
In those meetings, the JUI-F, PML-N and MQM-P had backed the ECP to hold general elections after the delimitation while the PTI and PPP had urged the electoral watchdog to drop the process and conduct polls within 90 days.
On August 17, the ECP announced the schedule of new delimitations to be carried out as per the new census approved by the Council of Common Interest (CCI) last month.
According to the schedule, the new delimitation of the constituencies was expected to be completed in December. However, the date has now been shortened to November.
Earlier, the ECP schedule had shown that the fresh delimitation would take nearly four months.
Last month, the CCI meeting chaired by then-prime minister Shehbaz Sharif approved the final results of the 7th Population and Housing Census 2023 reporting the country’s population at 241.49 million with a growth rate of 2.55%.
The CCI approval made it constitutionally mandatory for the ECP to hold elections following fresh delimitations in the light of the results of the 7th census.
According to Article 51 (5) of the Constitution, the seats of the National Assembly to each province and the federal capital shall be allocated on the basis of population in accordance with the last preceding census officially published.
The previous Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government dissolved the national and provincial assemblies of Sindh and Balochistan prematurely to allow the ECP to hold elections in the country within 90 days instead of 60 days if the legislature completed its constitutional tenure.