The Election Commission of Pakistan on Friday decided to cut short the time it had previously set to complete the delimitation of new constituencies in the country by at least 15 days. This has created the possibility of holding general elections slightly earlier than previously believed.
In a notification issued on Friday, the Election Commission of Pakistan said that after consultation with all political parties, they had decided that the delimitation process should be completed at the earliest.
In this regard, the notification said that the apex poll body had decided to further reduce the time set to complete delimitation and that the final delimitation results will be published by November 30, 2023.
"The purpose of reducing the duration to complete delimitations is to hold general elections as early as possible," the notice said.
It added that a schedule for elections will be announced based on the new deadline to complete the delimitation process.
Previously, in a notification issued on August 17, the Election Commission had stated that the delimitation process would be completed by December 14, 2023. This date was still far beyond the 90-day deadline the caretaker government has to conduct fresh elections as per the Constitution.
The ECP had previously argued the need for conducting fresh delimitation was legal.
The apex poll body had stated that Since the government had ratified the official results of the seventh Population and Housing 'Digital' Census 2023, "Article 51 of the Constitution, read along with section 17 of the Elections Act, 2017; the body was legally obligated "to carry out fresh delimitation of Constituencies after the publication of official results of the census."
Under the previous schedule notified by the ECP, the poll body was due to publish preliminary constituency delimitation boundaries by October 9. The ECP would then receive any complaints and objections by parties against these boundaries by November 11.
The objections will be decided by December 8, and the final constituency boundaries will be published on December 14.