ISLAMABAD: As the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) declared its intention to move the Supreme Court against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to conduct delimitation of constituencies across the country, the ECP has said that delimitation before the next general elections is a constitutional requirement.

Former information minister Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday took to Twitter, saying that delimitations are possible only if a new census is conducted and announced that the delimitation decision will be challenged in the Supreme Court.

He was of the view that creating new constituencies without a census would be a serious violation of the Constitution. “The Election Commis­sion is on a mission to make the election process controversial,” he remarked.

PTI plans to challenge order before apex court

An official of the ECP, however, told Dawn that the provisional results of the 6th national census conducted in 2017 were published on Jan 3, 2018, and accordingly the delimitation of national and provincial assemblies was carried out by the commission on the basis of the said results as a one-time dispensation granted by the amendment made to Article 51(5) of the Constitution for general elections 2018 for National Assembly and provincial assemblies.

He said that under Article 51(5) of the Constitution and Section 17 of the Elections Act 2017, delimitation of constituencies was conducted on the basis of population in accordance with the last census officially published.

He also pointed out that under 25th Amendment to the Constitution, the erstwhile Fata was merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Twelve (12) seats allocated to Fata were abolished and six seats were allocated to KP on the basis of population. Resultantly, the number of seats in the National Assembly were reduced to 266 from 272. Due to this reason fresh delimitation was mandatory to be carried out in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which could not be done due to non-publication of official census results by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

The ECP had on April 11 announced the delimitation schedule for constituencies of the national and provincial assemblies for the next general elections, days after declaring that it would not wait for the fresh digital census.

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2022

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