Consultation on polls kick-starts tomorrow

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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will start consultation with political parties on a range of issues, including election date, publication of electoral lists and constituencies from tomorrow (Thursday).

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja and four provincial members will meet with representatives of political parties. In this regard, ECP Secretary Umar Hameed will send invitations.

Sources indicate that the election oversight body is set to individually approach the prominent parties—the PML-N, the PPP, and the PTI—to gather their input on the general election date and the release of electoral lists and constituencies. This move aims to enhance the resolution of election-related issues through comprehensive consultations.

Meanwhile, the ECP was informed on Tuesday that a Result Compilation System has been created to swiftly transmit provisional results from a presiding officer to a returning officer using a mobile app.

The recently introduced Result Compilation System will empower returning officers to swiftly compile provisional results while ensuring accurate vote statistics, an ECP official told the participants of a meeting chaired by the CEC.

The system has been tested during a mock exercise to ensure its functionality, leading to the ECP’s full confidence in its performance.

The meeting also examined the process of delimitation of constituencies in view of the recently held population census. The ECP has dispatched essential letters to provincial governments and the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the meeting was told.

Discussions with relevant institutions have taken place. They were reminded on Tuesday via phone to quickly provide the necessary maps and data to the ECP.

This will assist the commission in promptly initiating the delimitation process. ECP’s provincial members, the commission’s secretary and other senior officials attended the meeting, said a statement issued after the meeting.

The ECP on August 18 sprung a surprise on the Supreme Court by announcing the starting of delimitation process in view of the digital census notified by the Council of Common Interest (CCI) on August 7.

As the delimitation process will end in the month of December, the general elections cannot be held within 90 days—in November—as per Article 224 of the Constitution.

Though the media reports about a meeting between CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja and Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday were not denied, sources in the Supreme Court as well as the ECP were also not confirming the development.

Some sources revealed to Daily City News that an informal message had been sent to the ECP, urging it to approach the apex court to seek clarity about holding elections within 90 days after notification of the new population census.

However, instead of approaching the SC, the ECP exercised its powers and decided to carry out the delimitation process. “Why should the ECP approach the SC as it is a constitutional body responsible to hold free and fair elections?” said a lawyer.

The ECP has already decided to file a review petition against the SC’s detailed judgement about the holding of general elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) on May 14. The judgement was authored by Justice Munib Akhtar and endorsed by CJP Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.

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