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Fafen report based on misunderstanding: ECP

While analysing difference in population, this institution (Fafen) did not take district unit to determine the seats

October 03, 2023
Paramilitary soldiers stand guard outside Pakistan’s election commission building in Islamabad on August 2. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Monday clarified that the analysis by a local body on the preliminary delimitation report was based on a misunderstanding, especially regarding the application of 10% difference among constituencies, as delimitation was done on basis of population of each district and its seats.

The ECP said it considers necessary to clarify the press release of September 30, 2023 by a local analyst body (Fafen): the analysis of the institution on the initial delimitation is based on a misunderstanding regarding the relevant provisions of the law, especially the application of 10% difference of population between constituencies.

While analyzing the difference in population, this institution (Fafen) did not take the district unit to determine the seats. Rather, the quota of the province was taken as a unit and the basic administrative unit i.e. the district was ignored, which has created confusion.

Under Article 51 of the Constitution, it explained, 266 seats of the National Assembly are divided among provinces on the basis of population. Keeping in view the allocated seats and population of the province, the quota of the province was drawn on the basis of which seats were allocated to each district under Rule 8(2) of the Election Rules 2017. After which the delimitation was done on the basis of the population of each district and keeping in mind the seats of that district.

In addition to the population during delimitation, the ECP noted there are other principles which are mentioned in Section 20 of the Elections Act 2017, including administrative unit and homogeneity, which the ECP has taken into account during the initial delimitation.

Similarly, in case of a 10% decrease in the population in the constituencies, the reasons must be recorded. The proper reasons for the constituency where this is deficient are mentioned in the preliminary delimitation report. “In so far as the submission of representations in all the offices of the ECP and availability of population data for the convenience of the voter are concerned, it is clarified with reference to the suggestions made by the said body: A: Population data is already available in the initial delimitation. Marked Maps and Unmarked Maps are available on the Election Commission’s website for public convenience. Voters can download these maps. Unmarked Maps can also be obtained from the Facilitation Center located at the Election Commission Secretariat Islamabad.

B: For the convenience of voters, for submission of representation under Section 21 Elections Act 2017 and Rule 12 of Election Rules 2017 on the Election Commission’s website, guidelines have also been uploaded. Since the hearing and decisions of the excuses are to be taken in the Election Commission Secretariat Islamabad. Therefore, collection centers have been set up in Islamabad.

C: Regarding the difference in population data, the figures mentioned in the (Fafen) press release are not correct. During the initial delimitation, there are 64 constituencies with a population deficit of more than 10%, for which reasonable reasons have been given in the report, which Section 20(4) of the Elections Act, 2017 permits.

D: The facility to file a representation is provided in the law and rules to correct the errors in the initial delimitation. If such an error is found in the initial delimitation which is not allowed by the law, it will be corrected during the hearing of the objections.

Meanwhile, the ECP had recently directed to recall grade 17 to grade 22 officers posted in the provinces for more than three years, who belong to various occupational groups and whose tenure in the provinces has exceeded three years.

Similarly, a statement issued by the ECP said, the Home Secretary was also directed to repatriate the CDA members who are posted from outside. Members who are CDA’s regular employees should also be reshuffled to ensure impartiality in the upcoming general elections.

A meeting was held in this regard at the ECP Secretariat Monday in which the Secretary Interior and Secretary Establishment briefed that 14 officers belonging to the Secretariat, OMG and other occupational groups have been transferred from Sindh, whose tenure had exceeded three years.

Similarly, 10 officers have been transferred from Punjab province. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, there are currently no officers with a tenure of more than three years. Secretary Establishment said that some members have been changed or repatriated.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent memoranda for the transfer of the remaining members i.e. Environment, Admin, Planning. Both secretaries were directed to transfer all transfers within three days and send a compliance report.