Pakistan: ‘No delay in polls’; ECP responds to President Alvi’s statement


ISLAMABAD: In response to President Arif Alvi’s fears that elections may not be held in the last week of January 2024, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday announced that it would issue the election schedule after the delimitation of constituencies is completed and the polls will be held next year.

“After the publication of the delimitation of constituencies, the election schedule will be announced. There is no chance of a delay in the elections,” said the ECP spokesperson in a statement.

The official also assured that the ECP had made all preparations for the elections.

The spokesperson said that the first phase of the delimitation process has been completed and the second one will conclude once the objections to the preliminary delimitations are filed.

The official said the ECP would start hearing objections on the delimitation from October 30-31 and a final list will be published on November 30.

“The election schedule will be announced after the final publication of constituencies. There is no ambiguity in the Election Commission’s decisions.”

A day earlier, President Dr Arif Alvi said that he does not believe the general elections will take place in January next year, but at the same time, he called for transparent polls when they are staged.

The country has been gripped in political uncertainty ever since the Imran Khan government was removed through a no-confidence motion in April 2022.

A coalition government that took over after Imran Khan’s ouster dissolved the National Assembly on August 9 of this year.

Following the premature dissolution of national and provincial assemblies, the ECP was required to hold elections within the 90-day time period, meaning the polls should take place no later than November 6.

However, the ECP said it was constitutionally bound to draw fresh boundaries ahead of the elections as the Council of Common Interest (CCI) had approved the census, hence holding elections within the stipulated time period was not possible.

Key political parties including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and others have urged the ECP to hold polls at the earliest to end prevailing uncertainty in the country.

But in September the uncertainty ended to an extent after the Election Commission announced that it would hold polls in the country in the last week of January.

In the same month, the ECP also released the provisional report on the delimitation of constituencies based on the recently concluded census moving a step closer to the most sought-after general elections.__The News