ISLAMABAD: The prospect of general elections in February 2024 seemed to become brighter on Thurs­day, as the Election Commi­ssion of Pakistan (ECP) published the final delimitation list of constituencies for national and provincial assemblies.

As per the notification, the National Assembly has a total of 266 general seats, 10 reserved seats for non-Muslims and 60 reserved seats for women. This makes the total number 336.

In the NA, Balochistan has a total of 20 seats, inc­lu­d­ing 16 general and four res­erved seats for women; Khyber Pakhtun­khwa has 45 general seats and 10 res­e­r­ved seats for women; Sindh has a total of 75 NA seats and of these, 61 are general and remaining 14 are rese­rved for women; while in Pun­jab, the province with the largest population, there are 141 general seats and 32 seats reserved for women.

The federal capital has three general seats in the National Assembly with no reserved seat for women.

Karachi gains one NA and three PA seats; six tribal districts added to KP’s NA tally

The ECP had come under fire after the publication of preliminary delimitation list for wide variation in the population of various constituencies against the spirit of the law, but had insisted that parity only had to be maintained between populations of constituencies within a district, not the province.

Keeping in view the seats allocated to the provinces and their population, their quota was worked out on the basis of which seats were allocated to each district under rule 8(2) following which, keeping in view the population of the districts and the number of their seats, the delimitation was carried out,“ it explained.

Electoral experts, however, disagreed with the position taken by the ECP, asserting that the law governing principles of delimitation was very clear and it talks about the population of constituencies of an assembly and not a district. They asserted that a rule could not amend or override a legal provision.

In all, 1,327 representations were filed and majority of them i.e. 675 from Punjab, regarding the delimitation of constituencies.

Provincial assemblies

In the provincial legislatures, Balochistan comprises 51 general seats, 11 reserved for women and three for non-Muslims, bringing the total number to 65. Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa consists of 115 general seats, 26 seats reserved for women and four seats for non-Muslims and the total number of seats of the legislature stands at 145.

Sindh consists of 130 general seats, whereas 29 seats are reserved for women and nine seats for non-Muslims and the total number of seats is 168. Punjab comprises as many as 297 general seats, 66 reserved for women and eight for non-Muslims. The total strength of the provincial legislature is 371 seats.

Hence, the total number of general seats of the four legislatures is 593, 132 seats reserved for women and 24 reserved seats for non-Muslims.

Prominent changes

Under the final notification, the number of National Assembly seats for Karachi South has increased from two to three, while Sanghar has lost one of its three seats.

In addition, Malir, Karachi East and Karachi Central have got one additional provincial assembly seat each. The provincial assembly seats of Malir have increased from five to six, while the number of seats for Karachi East and Karachi Central has increased from eight to nine each.

Likewise, Khairpur, Sanghar and Thatta have lost one provincial seat each. The provincial assembly seats of Khairpur have come down from seven to six, Sanghar’s seats from six to five and Thatta’s seats from three to two.

In all, 1,327 representations had been filed against delimitation for the National and provincial assembly constituencies — with a majority of them (675) coming from Punjab alone.

The addition of six tribal districts have taken KP’s NA tally from 39 to 45. Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, North Waziristan, South Waziristan and Kurram have gained NA seats, while Tank’s separate seat has been merged with Dera Ismail Khan.

This addition was possible because the consitutional amendment that gave cover to this move was passed when the tribal districts were initially merged into the province.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2023

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