End controversy on delimitation

A lot of time was consumed by the political parties to get passed the constitutional amendment to pave way for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to carry out fresh delimitation of constituencies ahead of the next general election and now as the ECP has completed preliminary phase of delimitation, serious concerns are being raised by the parties especially ruling PML-N over the changes made in the boundaries of constituencies, creating once again uncertainty about timely conduct of the election.
Apprehensions were also rightly and lucidly expressed by the Ministry of Law and Justice before the National Assembly Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs on Wednesday stating the general election might face uncertainty if objections over delimitation reach the courts. Indeed the process of delimitation is very sensitive and fundamental to the conduct of general election, as according to constitutional provisions, the exercise must be carried out after every census. The ECP has received a total number of 1,286 public complaints regarding the proposed delimitation of constituencies from the four provinces, Islamabad Capital Territory and the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and it has also started the hearing of public complaints on the matter. It is also for the political parties to appear before the ECP and get their grievances addressed. In fact the Speaker National Assembly had also constituted a Parliamentary Committee for consultations with the ECP to get the apprehensions of lawmakers addressed on this important matter. We understand mere raising fingers on the sensitive matter will only further fan uncertainty about the next general election. Already rumours are rife over the last one-year or so that the election will not be held on time and if that happens it will prove true the predictions of those presenting doomsday scenario. In these circumstances responsibility rests with political parties to prove true to their words and commitment to the democratic set-up. They need to sit with the ECP to take the process of delimitation to logical conclusion at the earliest. Genuine concerns of the parties need to be addressed by the ECP, thus making the whole delimitation process controversy free. We believe any delay in the next general election will not augur well for democratic system and it will also put a question mark on the intensions and resolve of political parties for the system.

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