The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) once again emphasized the need for holding elections within the constitutionally mandated 90-day period after the dissolution of the National Assembly on August 9 following a meeting with the Election Commission Pakistan (ECP).
The PPP demanded that the ECP release the election schedule. This call came as part of ongoing consultations between various parties and the ECP regarding the electoral process.
Despite the ECP’s assertion that elections won’t take place this year, the PPP insists that Article 224 of the Constitution stipulates a specific timeframe for elections after the dissolution of the assembly and this should be adhered to. The 90-day limit for elections is set to expire on November 9.
The ECP’s decision to delay elections beyond this date is based on the need to await the results of the 2023 census and comply with Section 17(2) of the Elections Act, which mandates constituency delimitation after each officially published census.
The PPP expressed its stance during the meeting that the delimitation process wouldn’t be extensive due to the unaltered composition of provincial seats in the National Assembly, allowing it to be completed before December.
The party was part of a delegation that included figures like Nayyar Bukhari, Naveed Qamar, Sherry Rehman, Faisal Karim Kundi, Syed Murad Ali Shah, and others.
While the PPP is advocating for the 90-day constitutional requirement for elections to take precedence over the need for delimitation, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has also raised concerns about election delays, emphasizing timely polls to uphold democratic practices.
President Dr. Arif Alvi had invited the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja for a meeting to set an appropriate election date, but the CEC noted that this would be of limited significance due to recent changes in election law.
An amendment to the Elections Act 2017 now grants the ECP the authority to independently announce election dates without consulting the president. The ECP has yet to release a statement following the meeting with the PPP.