ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has received block-wise census data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) as it prepares to commence the process of delimitation next week.

A senior ECP official told Dawn that the ECP secretary had a meeting with senior officers of the PBS, who promised to deliver all remaining documents to the commission over the next two days.

The ECP had set Jan 10 as the deadline for the bureau to provide all necessary material as per Article 220 of the Constitution.

The five delimitation committees formed by the ECP, he said, had completed their training involving a mock delimitation using geographical information system and would formally start work on the exercise from Jan 15 and prepare draft proposals in 45 days.

“Reconciliation of census blocks is under way and the PBS has provided us with 80-90 per cent material sans some maps. On the basis of the progress, we are sure that the process of delimitation as well as door-to-door verification of voters will simultaneously start on Jan 15 as per the plan,” said the ECP official.

The official claimed that this time the delimitation exercise would be entirely different from the previous ones where there would be no room for any manipulations under political influence.

He said different delimitation committees had been formed for each of the four provinces and one for the federal capital and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Each committee comprised eight to 10 members, he added.

However, the official pointed out, the committees did not include officers from the province it were covering — the committee for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had officers from Punjab while officers from Sindh would be looking at Punjab.

“It will not be like the previous time when the then ECP members were deciding on delimitation matters pertaining to the provinces they belonged to,” he said.

He said that since all five committees would finalise their proposals in the secretariat, it would not be possible for even a top official of the commission to influence delimitation for any district at his whims.

After making proposals, the committees would present them before the five-member commission and the objections raised would be decided upon by the entire commission and not a single individual, said the ECP official.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2018

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