ECP decides to immediately start delimitation exercise

ISLAMABAD, Apr 08 (APP):The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday decided to immediately start the delimitation exercise of all National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies constituencies on the basis of the 2017 census and population statistics.

Keeping in view the current scenario of the country, the ECP has decided not to wait for the digital census which is yet to be decided and proceed with the delimitation exercise. The delimitation process for the National assembly and Provincial Assemblies will be completed in four months on a war footing basis.

The decision was made in an important meeting of the ECP which was held under the chairmanship of Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and was attended by the members of the Commission along with with other senior officials.

The meeting decided that the ECP would write to provincial governments to provide maps and relevant data immediately so the delimitation process is completed timely.
The Commission ordered the Secretary and Special Secretary of ECP to present a complete action plan for general elections before the commission on April 13, 2022.

The meeting was informed that the ECP is fully committed to fulfill its constitutional duty for continuity of democratic processes, fair play, and rule of law. The Commission was apprised on the non-release of funds by Finance Division as the ECP had written to the government and Finance Division regarding essential funds to conduct Local Government Elections in Punjab.

The meeting observed that the conduct of Local Government Elections that was already delayed and its further delay would be a clear violation of law and the Constitution. Upon the advice of the Finance Division, the ECP had sent a summary of the supplementary grant for approval of ECC while the ECC further sent it to the Cabinet after its approval.

After the approvals from the Cabinet, the Finance division communicated its approval to ECP through official correspondence to ensure that Finance Division provide to ECP according to their needs. When Finance Division was contacted recently by ECP to release these funds, it was told that it cannot release the funds to conduct Local Government Elections in Punjab as it requires a No Objection Certificate from Punjab Government.

ECP took serious notice of the issue and said that it is an independent body financially and administratively under the Constitution.
The meeting considered that the government and all provincial governments are bound to provide administrative and financial support however due to various reasons, ECP is being hampered in the process of fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities.

In order to ensure timely conduct of Punjab Local Government Elections, the ECP has asked the Federal Secretary Finance and Chief Secretary Punjab for having a meeting with the ECP. The Commission will issue the orders after hearing both officials.
It was decided to reschedule the bye-elections of NA-133 Hanga on April 17, 2022.

Earlier, elections were to be held on April 10, 2022, which were postponed in Hanga due to the dissolution of the National Assembly and the matter was subjudice due to its proceeding in the Supreme Court. The Commission ordered speedy completion of updation and review of voter lists.