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Monday July 15, 2024

Senate panel wants polls within 90 days

Forum recommended commission to announce election schedule at earliest to remove any uncertainty on conduct of elections

By Mumtaz Alvi
September 27, 2023
The Senate while in a session. — Senate of Pakistan website/File
The Senate while in a session. — Senate of Pakistan website/File

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs Tuesday recommended to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that the time for filing of representations for delimitation should be reduced from 30 to 7 days, so that the general election could be held within 90 days. Senator Taj Haider presided over the meeting here.

The committee also drew the attention of electoral body towards the constitutional obligation of conducting the general election within 90 days after the dissolution of National Assembly.

The forum recommended the commission to announce the election schedule at the earliest to remove any uncertainty on conduct of elections.

Briefing the committee on the polls-related matters, the Commission Secretary Omar Hamid Khan said that the preliminary delimitations will be published on September 27. However, he explained a period of approximately 60 days will be required for filing and disposal of representations.

He told the committee that some 91,809 polling stations were to be established out of which 49,919 had been designated as sensitive or highly sensitive. He pointed out that out of the 49,919 polling stations, 17,411 had been categorised as highly sensitive and another 32,508 as sensitive while 41,809 (around 45 percent) designated as normal.

He contended that the general election will encompass 266 National Assembly constituencies and 593 provincial assemblies’ constituencies. Moreover, he noted around 1 million polling staff will be required for the upcoming general election. The committee inquired about the methods for consolidation of results. The secretary ECP said electronic devices having ECP-developed software will be used to send snapshots of Form-45 to returning officers and software was also equipped to keep track of time and place of snapshots in order to ensure the legitimacy of elections. Regarding the use of funds for development schemes, Senator Taj Haider emphasized that funds should be allocated to the approved schemes.

The secretary ECP explained that there was no ban on development schemes approved prior to August 15.