ECP to complete delimitation of constituencies by May 3

  • Constituency maps summoned from the provincial governments by January 10
  • Provincial governments directed to install CCTV cameras in sensitive polling stations

ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Secretary Babar Yaqoob on Friday said that the delimitation of constituencies for the next general elections will be completed by May 3, 2018.

Addressing the media after an emergency session of the ECP, Yaqoob said that five delimitation committees have been set up in this regard, however, he refused to share the date for the next general polls.

He further said that the ECP has summoned constituency maps from the provincial governments by January 10, and 45 days have been set for the proposals of delimitation.

All provincial governments have been directed to install CCTV cameras in any polling stations that they deem sensitive.

Provincial election commissioners, chief secretaries, secretary Pakistan Board of Statistics and chairman National Database and Registration Authority, were present during Friday’s meeting.

On Dec 19, the Upper House of Parliament passed the crucial delimitation bill with 84 voting in favour of the motion and one against.

The Senate was unable to vote on the bill on Nov 17 when it was first tabled in the Upper House as several legislators had remained absent from the session on that day, with only 58 of the 104 senators present. The bill was again placed on the Senate’s agenda on Nov 20, however, the absence of lawmakers had once again delayed voting on the bill. The leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq had sought deferment for two days and the bill was placed on the Senate’s agenda for Nov 22 but the House again failed to carry out a vote on it.

The National Assembly passed this bill on November 16, 2017, with a two-thirds majority to consider the provisional results of census 2017 to make delimitation of constituencies for upcoming general elections 2018. A total of 233 members voted in favour of it and one member opposed it.

It is worth noting that two-thirds majority in the Senate, having a total strength of 104, was required to get the Constitutional Amendment passed. The government had developed consensus with main political parties in the House to attain the required strength of 69 members.

The passage of the bill will not change the 272 seats strength of the National Assembly.

The bill will decrease nine National Assembly seats (seven general and two women seats) of the most populous Punjab province, and will increase five seats (four general and women seats ) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, three seats of the largest province of Balochistan (two general, one women seats) and one of federal capital.

The number of NA seats for Sindh province and FATA will remain the same.

The bill seeks to carry out fresh delimitation of constituencies on the basis of officially published census results.

It sought the delimitation for the general elections 2018 on the basis of the provisional results of the 6th Population and Housing Census 2017. The amendment sought in Article 51 (5) will allow to re-allocate seats as per provisional census results.

The existing Article 51 (5) requires that the “seats in the National Assembly shall be allocated to each Province, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the Federal Capital on the basis of population in accordance with the last preceding census officially published”.