The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday rejected the possibility of any further delay to general elections, stressing that a date and schedule will be issued after the completion of the fresh delimitation of constituencies.
“After the publication of the delimitation of constituencies, the election schedule will be announced. There is no chance of a delay in the elections,” read a statement issued a day after President Arif Alvi, during an interview with Geo News, claimed he “does not see any indication” of elections occurring in the last week of January 2024 as earlier announced by the electoral body.
According to the ECP’s statement, it has completed preparations for the elections. It said the first phase of the delimitation process has concluded, adding the ongoing second phase would end once objections to preliminary delimitations had been filed. It said the ECP would start hearing objections on the delimitation from Oct. 30-31, adding a final list would be published on Nov. 30.
“The election schedule will be announced after the final publication of constituencies. There is no ambiguity in the Election Commission’s decisions,” it added.
Despite the ECP announcing, multiple times, that elections would take in the last week of January, several political parties and pundits have claimed that in the absence of a definitive date, uncertainty persists. The loudest voices demanding a schedule are of the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, while the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) maintains any date issued by the ECP would be acceptable.
Following the dissolution of the National Assembly in August, elections were due to take place no later than mid-November. However, in the waning days of the former government, it approved the results of the digital census, requiring the ECP to conduct fresh delimitation before proceedings to polls. Last week, the Supreme Court took up pleas calling for timely elections, with Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa observing that it was now “too late” for polls to occur on time, and issuing notices to the ECP seeking an explanation for the delay.