Possible Extinction of the Constitutional Time Limit for Postponing General Elections
Following the announcement of the findings of the 7th Population and Housing Census, 2023, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has provided a schedule for the delimitation of constituencies based on those data. The forthcoming general election may be delayed beyond the constitutional limit of 90 days, according to this schedule, which implies a likely delay.
Timetable for the Delimitation of Districts and Constitutional Restraints
The schedule calls for the final publishing of the delimitations to take place on December 14th. This action is in line with the findings of the official census and is in conformity with Article 51 of the Constitution as well as Section 17(2) of the Elections Act of 2017.
Constitutional Amendment 224, as well as the accompanying Elections Act
The Election Commission is required under Article 224 of the Constitution to hold general elections within ninety days of the dissolution of the National Assembly in order to fulfil the constitutional mandate. The commission is required by Section 17(2) of the Elections Act to carry out constituency delimitation after each officially published census in order to comply with the law.
Timeline for the Delimitation Process
On August 15, the boundaries of administrative entities across the country were froze for the time being.
By the 21st of August, delimitation committees will have been created for each province and for the federal capital.
Between the 22nd and the 30th of August, the administrative procedures for the delimitation, which include the requisition of data and the description of maps, will be finished.
The first through fourth of September will be devoted to training for the delimitation committees.
During the 5th through 7th of September, district quotas for national and provincial assemblies will be discussed with delimitation committees.
The 8th of September to the 7th of October will be devoted to the preparation of preliminary delimitations. From the 10th of October until the 8th of November, members of the public can submit their objections and comments regarding preliminary delimitations.
Between the 10th of November and the 9th of December, the Election Commission will review any objections. On December 14 we will publish the definitive list of constituencies.
The Function of the Interim Government
The Election Commission has written a letter to the caretaker chief minister of Punjab and the chief secretary of the caretaker government in Punjab in order to discuss the role of the caretaker government in the conduct of elections that are unbiased and peaceful. The letter emphasises how important it is for the caretaker administration to refrain from making big policy choices, particularly those that require alterations to land use or have significant ramifications for the long term.
Expectations, as well as a Consultation with the Chief Justice
There have been rumors’ that Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja met with Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Umar Ata Bandial. This comes at a time when it is possible that the general elections would be delayed. Having said that, there has been no formal confirmation of this encounter. This circumstance presents problems regarding the observance of constitutional timelines as well as the essential balance between administrative procedures and the democratic principle of holding elections at the appropriate time.