ISLAMABAD: In a significant step towards upcoming general elections, the preliminary delimitation of constituencies for the polls is expected to be completed this month, it has emerged.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) reviewed progress of the ongoing delimitation exercise on Monday and expressed satisfaction over its pace.
The commission directed the delimitation committees to complete the task by Sept 26 positively, so that preliminary delimitation lists could be published the next day.
Under the original delimitation schedule issued by the ECP on Aug 17 — ten days after the notification of census results — the initial delimitation exercise was to be completed on Oct 7 and preliminary proposals for delimitation along with report were to be published on Oct 9.
ECP puts new monitoring system in place to ‘avoid repeat’ of 2018 RTS fiasco
On Sept 1, the ECP had announced squeezing timelines of the delimitation exercise by 14 days to complete the process on Nov 30, instead of the scheduled Dec 14.
Sources in the ECP, which had earlier been hinting at the possibility of general polls somewhere in the middle of February, after the development said it could pave the way for elections in the last week of January.
The ECP put in place a new monitoring control system to be used in the next polls that, it hopes, will improve on how data is collected and compiled.
Officials pointed out that there was a massive difference between how things stood in 2013 and 2018, and said that a lesson had been learnt from what had happened with the Result Transmission System (RTS) in 2018. The media was informed that monitoring officers will have the powers to impose fine and disqualify candidates on violations.
During a briefing at the newly established election monitoring control centre on Monday, ECP Secretary Omar Hamid Khan said the new system had been created as per the vision of the chief election commissioner.
He said monitoring takes place both before and after an election, adding that the system needs improvement and data analysts will be hired for the purpose.
He said an offline system will work where an online connection is not available, and in the absence of both, results on hard copies will be received. He promised that the next general elections will be different from all the previous exercises.
ECP Special Secretary Asif Hussain said data comes in from multiple levels on the election day and the system will be used to give feedback and make decisions based on the data.
Project Director retired colonel Saad said the system would work round the clock and the online monitoring centre will be linked with all the control rooms to be established at the provincial and district levels.
He said the system will make it possible to connect with 200 monitors online while voters, candidates and others will be able to lodge complaints.
Besides polls, he pointed out, election campaigns will also be monitored.
Talking about the new result compilation system, he said the system would help make the polls transparent.
Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2023