The decision is in response to recent orders from the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which essentially precludes any further delays in elections, as the courts nationwide cannot entertain petitions challenging the delimitation conducted by the ECP.
The notification, signed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and four members of the Election Commission, refers to a specific case regarding the delimitation of District Zhob, Sherani (Civil Petition No 4305/2023 titled Gul Khan and Others Vs. Saeed-ur-Rehman and Others).
The Supreme Court emphasized that while delimitation is crucial for fair representation, it does not carry the same urgency as conducting general elections.
The Supreme Court’s order states, “Postponing general elections to address constituency delimitation could lead to a vacuum in governance and the potential crisis of legitimacy. Therefore, the principle of proportionality and the concept of larger good demand that general elections be given primacy.”
The ECP, following the Supreme Court’s directive, has decided to conduct elections based on the final delimitation notified on November 30, following the election program announced on December 15, 2023.
Any attempts to address delimitation issues before the elections, as per the ECP order, would disrupt the election schedule and the nomination paper filing deadline.
As a result, the ECP has deferred the hearing of the mentioned cases until the conclusion of the General Elections in 2024. The elections will proceed in the constituencies as per the Form-VII issued by the Commission on November 30, 2023, with the possibility of corrections, if necessary.
The order emphasizes that, in accordance with the Election Act of 2017, no alterations or amendments can be made after the issuance of the Election Program.