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General Elections impossible before May 2023: ECP

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has said that general elections in Pakistan will not be possible before May 2023 since various processes have to be completed before.

Delimitation and the census have to be conducted before the country can move ahead for the polls according to the ECP.

In a press release issued by ECP’s Media Coordination and Outreach Wing, the commission said that it had received a letter from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on April 18 stating that the seventh population and housing census would be initiated from August 1.

The ECP would be provided with the results of the fresh census on December 31, according to the statement.

In such a scenario, the delimitation of constituencies being conducted by the ECP on the basis of the 2017 census would become “irrelevant” and the electoral watchdog would be bound by the Constitution to start the process anew from January 1, 2023 — which would require at least four months.

“Similarly, electoral lists will also need to be reviewed,” the press release added.

The electoral watchdog, constituted under Article 218 of the Constitution, is tasked with delimiting the national and provincial level constituencies. The ECP, per the Election Act 2017, is legally bound to start the delimitation process after every census and at least four months prior to the scheduled polling day.

This comes as Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf workers held protests across ECP offices in Pakistan, demanding the resignation of Chief Election Commissioner, Sikander Sultan Raja.

Responding to the criticism, the ECP said it was a legal institution that carried out its constitutional responsibilities with complete impartiality and would continue to do so in the country’s interest without any pressure.

On action against PTI dissidents, ECP said it had issued notices to 46 members of the national and Punjab assemblies and asked them to appear before it on April 28 and May 6 respectively.

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