The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday responded to criticism by former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ministers, saying that the ECP was committed to fulfilling its legal duties and that other institutions should do so as well.
Speaking regarding the delimitation controversy, the ECP spokesperson said that the National Assembly’s (NA) constituencies were reduced to 266 from 272 after the merger of ex-Fata. This reduced ex-FATA’s seats – which had been allotted 12 – to six, the spokesperson said, adding that this meant delimitation was vital before holding the elections.
The commission held the PTI government responsible for the delay. It said that the 2017 national census was provisional and could not be notified. The ECP stated that it had written multiple letters to the government giving reminders that delimitation was its constitutional responsibility and could not be initiated until the census was notified.
On May 6, 2021, the census was notified and the commission issued a schedule for the delimitation exercise. But, it said, the government decided to carry out a digital national census, halting the work on delimitation.
The ECP approached the government again on September 30, 2021, and January 21, 2022, for swift completion of the digital national census and subsequently the delimitation process. However, the digital process could not be completed.