ECP promises mid-February elections

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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has given its assurance to the Awami National Party (ANP) that the general elections could be held by mid-February, with the possibility of an even earlier date if the constituency delimitation process is completed sooner.

During a consultative meeting between the ANP representatives and the electoral watchdog to discuss the election roadmap, the ANP requested that if conducting the election within 90 days was not feasible, they be provided with the election date and schedule.

Mian Iftikhar, after the meeting with the ECP, stated that the election commission assured them of their readiness for mid-February elections and expressed their commitment to expedite the constituency delimitation process to potentially allow for earlier elections.

ANP leaders Mian Iftikhar Hussain and Zahid Khan conveyed the party’s viewpoint, emphasising that, according to the constitution, holding the election within 90 days is obligatory.

They also mentioned that the ANP was not invited to the Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting. In response, the ECP highlighted that once the census is sanctioned, the creation of new constituencies becomes necessary.

Mian Iftikhar pointed out that the premature dissolution of the assembly, which occurred shortly before its tenure was completed, led to a one-month delay in fresh elections.

Furthermore, Mian Iftikhar stressed the importance of a level playing field among all parties. Zahid Khan raised the party’s concerns regarding the digital census, citing a decline in Peshawar’s population after its introduction.

In a separate meeting, a delegation of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) also met with senior ECP officials to discuss the election roadmap.

During the meeting, BAP senators Manzoor Kakar, Sana Jamali, Danesh Kumar, and Naseebullah Bazai expressed their party’s stance on conducting elections within 90 days.

The discussions primarily revolved around the demarcation of constituencies and other election-related issues.

Manzoor Kakar mentioned efforts to organise a meeting of Balochistan’s political parties to discuss constituency delineation and issues pertaining to the upcoming general elections.

The delegation intended to visit Balochistan for further discussions and present their action plan to the election commission.Similarly, the ECP has extended an invitation to GDA chief Pir Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi, also known as Pir Pagara, for a meeting on September 1 to discuss preparations for the general elections and seek the party’s suggestions.

Additionally, the ECP has also sent an invitation to Pakistan Muslim League-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain for a meeting tomorrow.

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