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Sunday June 23, 2024

ECP to finish preliminary delimitations by 26th

ECP had a review of progress of country-wide delimitation exercise, already going on, and expressed its satisfaction over pace of task

By Mumtaz Alvi
September 19, 2023
The board outside the premises of the Election Commission of Pakistan. — ECP website/File
The board outside the premises of the Election Commission of Pakistan. — ECP website/File

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Monday said the preliminary delimitation of constituencies for the general election will be completed by September 26, taking an important step towards holding the nation-wide electoral exercise.

The ECP had a review of the progress of the country-wide delimitation exercise, already going on, and expressed its satisfaction over pace of the task.

According to the ECP spokesman, the commission has directed the delimitation committees to complete the work definitely by September 26, so that the preliminary delimitation lists could be published next day i.e. September 27.

However, as per the delimitation schedule issued by the commission on August 17, ten days after official notification of the final digital census results, the preliminary delimitation exercise was to be completed on October 7 and the preliminary proposals for delimitation along with report were to be published on October 9.

The electoral body on September 1 announced to squeeze timelines of delimitation exercise by 14 days to complete the entire process on November 30 instead of December 14. And, this reduction of timeline by two weeks, indicates that the general elections would be possible in the last week of January

In a related development to the elections, the commission has established a new monitoring control system to be used in the next general elections, hoping the new initiative will help improve on how data is collected and compiled in the previous election.

In this connection, a briefing was arranged for the media persons here at the ECP Secretariat. The forum was informed that there was a massive difference between how things stood in 2013 and 2018, and that lessons had been learnt from what had happened with the Result Transmission System (RTS) in 2018.

The monitoring officers, the briefing was told, will have the powers to impose fine and disqualify candidates on violations, relating to the electoral exercise.

The commission’s Secretary, Omar Hamid Khan, told the media persons that the newly-established election monitoring control centre (EMCC) had been created as per the vision of the chief election commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja.

He explained that monitoring takes place both before and after the elections. However, he conceded that new system needs improvement and data analysts will be hired for the purpose as well. He pointed out that offline system will work where online connection is not available, and in the absence of both, results on hard copies will be received. The commission secretary promised that the next general election will be different from all the previous general elections.

The ECP’s Special Secretary, Asif Hussain, said that data comes in from multiple levels on the election day and the system will be used to give feedback and make decisions based on the data. He pointed out that cameras connected to sensitive or highly sensitive polling stations will be linked to this system, whereas security will be deployed in three parts at polling stations.

The briefing was told that if there is a cyberattack on this system, the response system is readied. The project’s director Colonel (R) Saad said that the system would work round the clock and the online monitoring centre will be linked with all the control rooms to be established at provincial and district levels.

He said tabs will be given to 300 monitoring officers of the Election Commission and besides, general elections, local bodies and all by-elections will be monitored.