ECP Seeks Amendments To Delimitation Law
Expressing displeasure over the delay in amendment to the law that will pave the way for delimitation of electoral constituencies on the basis of provisional census results for the upcoming general elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has given a seven-day deadline to the government to complete the task.
At a meeting presided over by Chief Election Commissioner, it was pointed out that under the existing law, the Commission could start the delimitation process after a final notification of the census results, which according to the Statistics Division, would be done in April 2018.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, ECP Secretary said that the Commission has expressed concern over non-provision of necessary maps and data to them by the Statistics Division.
Setting a deadline of seven days for the Law Ministry and the Statistics Division to complete their respective jobs, the Election Commission made it clear that it would not be responsible for any uncalled-for delay.
It was explained that even if the delimitation process was started on Nov 1, it would be completed by April 30 with struggle.
The Secretary said the Commission on its part was ready and had already completed training of its officers for carrying out delimitation. An amount of Rs. 4 billion would be spent on delimitation and revision of electoral rolls.
An official pointed out that under Section 12 (d) of the recently passed Elections Act 2017, it was a mandate of the Commission to examine law, rules and regulations in force which were relevant to the conduct of elections and recommend to the federal government amendments in such laws, rules or regulations, as the case might be, in order to increase transparency and fairness while eliminating corrupt practices. Article 218 of the Constitution also gave the Commission the power to take all necessary steps to ensure execution of free and fair polls.
The Election Commission had been issuing timely warnings to the government to address the gaps in the law that are hindering the commencement of the delimitation process. However, the opportunity to address this had been neglected with the passing of the Election Act.
About the principles of delimitation defined in the law, he said all constituencies for general seats, as far as practicable, are to be delimited having regard to the distribution of population in geographically compact areas, physical features, existing boundaries of administrative units, facilities of communication and public convenience, and other cognate factors to ensure homogeneity in the creation of constituencies.