With the general elections approaching, the Sindh government has ostensibly expedited its efforts to carry out the delimitation of national and provincial assemblies’ constituencies in Karachi, The News learnt on Friday.
The step is being taken in the light of the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s orders in a suo motu case for bringing “homogeneity” in the constituencies.
A meeting to review the delimitation process was held at the Sindh Secretariat on Wednesday, presided over by Chief Secretary Raja Muhammad Abbas and attended by officials of the Election Commission of Pakistan and revenue and district managements.
Provincial Election Commissioner Sono Khan Baloch, who was among its participants, told The News on Friday that the district management had carried out delimitation only in District West so far. “Some areas have been omitted and their status is yet to be determined.”
Baloch said it was decided that another meeting would be held after Eid-ul-Fitr in which a final decision was likely to be made.
To a question about the Election Commission of Pakistan secretary’s stance that delimitation could not be carried out in the country without conducting a census, Baloch said that was a separate matter and the apex court’s orders had to be implemented.
Sources told the News that after the last meeting on the delimitation issue on April 14, the home department had notified changes in the jurisdictions of the police stations in the city’s Central District.
The changes were made in a way that they did not affect the revenue boundaries as well as the constituencies’ limits.
But such changes were not introduced in the other four districts.
Therefore, the Sindh Board of Revenue, through notification No PS/SMBR/BOR/2012/387 issued on July 17, had readjusted the boundaries of District West in sub-divisions and talukas.
However, Election Commission officials had observed that several areas had been omitted in the realignment of the boundaries.
These areas included Qasba Colony, A Area, R1 Quarter, E/FK Area, Peerabad, Muslimabad No 2 and 3, Muhammad Nagar, Islamia Colony, New Mianwali, Awan Colony, Iqbal Colony and Kunwari Colony.
The sources said the Election Commission had brought that fact to the notice of the Board of Revenue secretary to ascertain the status of those areas as to whether or not they were still part of District West.
The Election Commission also wanted that the Board of Revenue should carry out the changes in the revenue boundaries in the remaining four districts of the city - Central, South, East and Malir - so that necessary steps could be taken to implement the apex court’s orders.
Last year, the Supreme Court, in its orders in the Karachi target killings case, had directed the government to alter the boundaries of administrative units including police stations and revenue estates to avoid “political polarisation” and “break the cycle of ethnic strife and turf wars”. The apex court had noted that the exercise might help members of different communities to live together in peace and harmony, instead of allowing various groups to lay their claim on particular areas and declare certain places “no-go areas” using their “fearful influence”.
In its judgement, the Supreme Court had observed that the Election Commission of Pakistan might also initiate the delimitation process on its own.
As per the principles of delimitation enshrined in the Delimitation of Constituencies Act of 1974, “All constituencies for general seats shall be delimited having regard to the distribution of population, existing boundaries of administrative units, facilities of communication and public convenience and other cognate factors to ensure homogeneity in the creation of constituencies.”