As of Tuesday, the Election Commission of Pakistan clarified its position on impending general elections, stating that it has distributed none of such news, portraying that it can not hold elections in 90 days.
As the ECP’s Twitter account said, “it is vital to stress that the Election Commission of Pakistan has released no comment on the election.”
While quoting an ECP official, Dawn said that the commission could not conduct general elections in three months, stating that preparations would need at least six months.
In addition, PPP Senator Raza Rabbani voiced worry about how, according to media sources, the ECP had stated that they could not hold general elections within three months.
An official from the ECP was reported in the media as stating that the new delineation of constituencies was one of the primary concerns because of the multiple legal and procedural challenges. As an example, he referred to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the number of seats was raised via the 26th Amendment of the Constitution after the merging of the former FATA with KP.
“Inviting objections” was a “time-consuming” task, and they needed another month to respond to the objections, according to the official, who was discussing the delimitation process at the time of the interview. An additional duty of updating voter lists would take at least three months, according to the commission’s chair.
The ECP faces difficulties in putting together election materials, buying and training polling employees, and securing vote sheets, he said. Inviting bids and examining financial and technical estimates, the source showed, would take time.
Section 14 of the Elections Act was referenced by the official, who stated that the ECP was required to release an election strategy four months ahead of the polls.
He also suggested the idea of revoking the two laws established by the Parliament relating to electronic voting machines and the votes of Pakistanis living abroad.
According to the official, Balochistan’s local government elections will be held on May 29, while those in Sindh, Islamabad, and Punjab will also be held. This proposal for LG polls must be scrapped if general elections are to be held.
An early election presents several constitutional, legal, and practical issues, according to the FFN’s news statement.
ECP members from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have not yet been nominated, according to the statement. Despite Article 213 (2B) requiring the prime minister and opposition leader to begin the process in a special committee of senators, the constitutional method for appointing members after a caretaker legislature remains unclear.
This year’s census was based on preliminary findings, which raise questions about the constitutional and legal status of how seats in the National and Provincial Legislatures are now being allocated. Therefore, a new delimitation based on the most recent census officially released is required for future elections, as per Section 17(2) of the Elections Act, 2017. According to the criteria of Chapter III of the Elections Act, 2017 and accompanying rules, the process of delimitation cannot be completed within three months.
According to that report, the under-registration of women is also a key problem that has been addressed successfully by the commission through focused efforts. As of this writing, there are still 11.37 million women who haven’t registered to vote. Electoral rolls must be frozen thirty days prior to the publication of the election programme in order to comply with Section 39 of the Elections Act if elections are called in the next three months, meaning millions of women would be denied the right to vote.