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ECP Reveals Preliminary Delimitation, Paving Way for Polls

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In a significant stride towards the eagerly awaited elections in Pakistan, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has taken a substantial step by releasing the preliminary delimitation of constituencies. This development comes as part of the original delimitation schedule, initially announced by the ECP on August 17, shortly after the release of the census results.

Originally, the initial delimitation process was slated to conclude on October 7, with preliminary proposals and reports expected to be published on October 9. However, the ECP revised its timeline on September 1, compressing the delimitation exercise by 14 days, targeting completion by November 30, rather than the previously scheduled December 14.

This expeditious completion of the delimitation process brings the Election Commission of Pakistan one step closer to holding the polls, as envisioned, in the final week of January. While a specific date for the elections remains undisclosed at this juncture, the release of the preliminary constituencies marks a pivotal moment in Pakistan’s democratic calendar.

The ECP officially communicated this crucial development through a press release, affirming that the preliminary delimitation report, alongside the lists in Form 5, has been made accessible to the public via the commission’s website. Furthermore, the initial delimitation maps are also available online.

The publication of these preliminary constituencies is slated to continue for 30 days, commencing on September 27 and concluding on October 26. Notably, this period allows room for objections or representations to be submitted by eligible voters within the concerned constituencies.

The ECP clarified that these representations should be directed to the commission’s secretary and submitted to the ECP Secretariat in Islamabad no later than October 27. Subsequently, the commission will deliberate on these representations from October 28 to November 26, considering the perspectives of respective political parties in the process.

In elucidating the procedure for submitting these representations, the commission emphasized that they must take the form of a “memorandum” and bear the voter’s signature. Eight copies of the representations, accompanied by constituency maps, are required for submission. It’s worth noting that district maps can be obtained from the ECP for a nominal fee, as outlined by the commission.

The ECP made it explicitly clear that representations sent via courier, post, fax, or similar means would not be entertained.

A Glimpse of Delimitation Results

The preliminary delimitation, based on the initial exercise, presents a snapshot of the population distribution in the National Assembly constituencies. Balochistan emerges with 930,900 registered voters, closely followed by Sindh with 913,052 voters. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa accounts for 907,913 voters, Punjab with 905,595, and Islamabad with 787,954 registered voters.

The National Assembly comprises 266 general seats, with an additional 60 seats reserved for women and ten for non-Muslims. Punjab commands the lion’s share with 141 seats, followed by Sindh with 61, KP with 45, Balochistan with 16, and Islamabad with 3.

In terms of provincial assembly constituencies, the numbers indicate that Punjab leads the pack with a total population of 429,929, trailed closely by Sindh with 428,432. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa follows with 355,270, and Balochistan with 292,047 residents.

The delimitation report delineates the allocation of seats in both the national and provincial assemblies based on the final results of the 2023 census. It explains, “The population of the province/area has been divided by the total number of general seats, and the average population or quota per National Assembly seat was obtained. Similarly, the population of a province was divided by the total number of general seats allocated to the provincial assembly to obtain a quota per seat.”

“In calculating the total number of seats, a fraction of 0.5 and above was generally taken as one seat, and a fraction below 0.5 was ignored. Due to the peculiar situation in Balochistan, more than one district has been clubbed. Similarly, few clubbings have also been made in other provinces where necessary,” it elaborated.

As the electoral landscape takes shape with the release of these preliminary delimitation results, the political arena in Pakistan is set for an intriguing and transformative phase. The coming weeks will witness intense scrutiny, debates, and representations as the nation gears up for the next chapter in its democratic journey.

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