The Awami National Party (ANP) was assured by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday that the general elections will take place by the end of January at the latest, or by mid-February if the delineation of seats is finished sooner.
The announcement followed separate consultation sessions that the ANP, BNP, and BAP conducted with ECP representatives over the general election roadmap.
The meetings were presided over by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, and senior ECP staff as well as commission members were present.
The ANP delegation was led by its Secretary General Mian Iftikhar Hussain, comprising central spokesperson Zahid Khan, Khushdil Khan, Advocate, and Abdul Rahim Wazir, Advocate.
Naseebullah, Manzoor Kakar, Noor Muhammad Domar, and Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran attended on behalf of the BAP, and Abdul Karim Noshrawani, Sana Jamali, and Danesh Kumar spoke on behalf of the BNP.
ANP leaders said that the ECP gave them the assurance that it would expedite the delimitation timetables as far as feasible. The commission also gave them the assurance that voting would not take place past mid-February.
The ANP delegation insisted on the date and timeline for the electoral process if holding the election within 90 days was not possible, the commission said in a statement. They informed the election commission that the Constitution requires an election to be held within 90 days and that the ECP should have consulted political parties before beginning the delimitation process because the commission was unable to change the number of seats allocated to the provinces specified by the Constitution. Therefore, fresh delimitation wasn't necessary.
They said that the ECP could only accommodate seats within the province and that the commission was a constitutional body, and they had full faith in it.
Therefore, the delimitation decision taken by the commission must have been taken after due deliberation. Therefore, now the date and schedule for elections should also be announced so that political parties and the public can be satisfied.
The CEC stated that the delimitation work had to be finished within 120 days, or on December 14, 2023, in accordance with the commission's timeline. Soon after, the election timetable would be released. After shortening the constituency's tenure, it's also feasible that the election timetable will be released soon.