- PML-Q endorses ECP’s decision on new constituency delimitation.
- TLP proposes improvement in election monitoring to ensure transparency.
- CEC says ECP is trying to squeeze duration of delimitation process.
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has completed all the arrangements to monitor electoral campaigns and expenditures systematically, said Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, The News reported Friday.
He made these remarks while speaking to a delegation of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in a consultative meeting on general polls on Thursday. He also held a meeting with Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) separately.
CEC Raja, ECP members, secretary and other senior officers also attended the meeting.
The CEC added the draft of this will be sent to political parties before the consultation for feedback so that a better code of conduct can be established for future elections.
However, CEC Raja pointed out that legislation is needed on some party proposals, and the electoral body will play its role in this regard, expecting political parties to do the same.
He contended that provincial governments are not willing to hold elections, as when the ECP completes the arrangements for holding elections, changes are made to the laws.
In a meeting with CEC Raja, the PML-Q delegation endorsed the ECP’s decision on the new constituency delimitation. They emphasised that a new delimitation was necessary based on the released census results to ensure fairness.
PML-Q’s Muhammad Tariq Hussain, Farrukh Khan, Ghulam Mustafa, Rizwan Sadiq, and Hafiz Aqeel Jalil attended the meeting.
The delegation also added that since the results of the census have been published, there must be a new delimitation as per the new census. It also stressed that if the constituencies are not delimited then it will be an injustice.
‘Electoral process should be completed within 90 days’
However, the TLP’s delegation — comprising Chaudhry Rizwan, Muhammad Qasim, Ziaur Rahman, and Chaudhry Azhar — expressed reservations about holding the polls after the 90-day period.
The delegation briefed the ECP that in Islamabad’s local government elections, the government increased the number of union councils from 50 to 101, and later to 125. They viewed this as a negative move, which led to the cancellation of elections, and expressed their reluctance to grant such authority to the government.
They suggested that UCs in Pakistan should be empowered for a better local government system, emphasising the need for the removal of deceased voters from the voter list and opposing the appointing of returning officers from the judiciary due to their limited focus on election affairs.
They proposed improvement in election monitoring to ensure transparency and said that the electoral process should be completed within 90 days after the dissolution of the assemblies, even if constituency delimitation is required. They stressed the need to enhance peace and stability before the elections.
The CEC explained that under Article 140-A, the election commission has the responsibility to conduct elections in accordance with the local government laws of the provinces.
CEC Raja said that the same happened in Islamabad, adding that the electoral body ensured the removal of deceased and duplicate voters from electoral rolls by obtaining data from Nadra and the UC, making the process more accurate.
This process is ongoing on a permanent basis.
The members of the TLP’s delegation said the Election Commission is a constitutional body and they stand by it and they have full faith in the body.
Noting that the elections conducted by the ECP headed by CEC Raja were very transparent, they assured full support to the electoral body in all phases of the elections.
Both parties expressed confidence in the Election Commission’s capabilities and commitment to transparent elections.
However, CEC Raja pointed out that legislation is needed on some party proposals, and the ECP will play its role in this regard, expecting political parties to do the same.
He contended that to ensure peace and security, the services of the police, along with the armed forces and other law enforcement agencies in relation to the conduct of general elections.
The CEC assured that the ongoing schedule for delimitation is supposed to be completed within 120 days by December 14, 2023.
However, he added, the ECP is trying to squeeze the duration of the process, and after that, it would immediately announce the election schedule. The CEC also reiterated the Commission’s dedication to transparent and lawful constituency delimitation and elections.