ISLAMABAD: Getting closer to the highly anticipated general elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) released the provisional report on constituency delimitation based on the recently completed census on Wednesday.
The poll organizing authority has issued an official statement announcing that the preliminary report and map of constituencies are accessible on the ECP’s website.
The electoral watchdog also clarified that the release of preliminary constituencies will be ongoing for 30 days, ending on October 26. Additionally, in case voters have objections to the delimitation, they are encouraged to contact the ECP.
The election watchdog stressed that the person raising objections must be a resident of the respective constituency. It also clarified that the ECP will not consider objections submitted via courier, post, or fax.
As per the official announcement, the ECP will review the objections from October 28 to November 26. The statement also noted that you can obtain district maps from the ECP for a nominal fee.
The ECP’s report mentioned the completion of Pakistan’s 7th digital census by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics on August 7, prompting the ECP to initiate constituency delimitation under the Elections Act, 2017.
The ECP formed five delimitation committees to draft proposals for constituency boundaries. The process involved dividing the population by the total number of seats for both the National and provincial assemblies, rounding fractions appropriately.
Punjab had the most National Assembly seats, followed by Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Islamabad.
Punjab, with 127.6 million people, had 141 seats in the National Assembly, each with a population quota of 905,595. The Punjab Assembly had 297 seats with a quota of 429,929 per seat.
Sindh allocated its 61 NA seats based on a quota of 913,052 per seat for its 55.6 million population. The Sindh Assembly also had 130 seats with a quota of 428,432 per seat.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with 40.8 million people, received 45 NA seats, each with a quota of 907,913. Additionally, the KP Assembly had 115 seats with a quota of 355,270.
Notably, the delimitation process combined some districts in KP into inter-district constituencies because they did not meet the population threshold for separate NA seats.
Moreover, Balochistan had 16 NA seats for its 14.8 million population, each seat having a quota of 930,900. The provincial assembly had 51 seats with a quota of 292,047 per seat. Several Balochistan districts were also merged to form a single NA seat.
Islamabad, with a population of 2.3 million, had 3 seats in the NA, with each seat having a quota of 787,954.
Finally, the ECP announced that the general elections would occur in the last week of January 2024, concluding a period of uncertainty due to a new census and delimitation process mandated by the previous government.
According to the schedule announced by the ECP
Delimitation of constituencies to be conducted from September 8 to October 7.
Submission of proposals for constituencies from October 10 to November 8.
Allocation of quotas for national and provincial assembly constituencies from September 5 to September 7.
Establishment of constituency committees for four provinces by August 21.
Completion of administrative matters related to constituencies by August 31.
ECP to make decisions on objections to constituencies from November 10 to December 9.
Final publication of delimitation on December 14.
Notably, US Ambassador Donald Blome reaffirmed support for “free and fair elections,” and President Arif Alvi suggested a cut-off date for holding polls in a letter to CEC Raja.