President approves ECP summary
General elections for the national and four provincial assemblies will be held on July 25 as President Mamnoon Hussain signed the summery on Saturday, an official of the Presidency confirmed.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had sent a summery to the president last Monday, recommending him to fix a date for the next general elections between July 25 and 27.
As per election laws, the ECP is supposed to send this summery under Section 57(1) of the Elections Action Act 2017 to the president, who then announces the date.
The tenure of the current government will expire on May 31. On June 1, the caretaker setup should be installed to the center and the provinces till new assemblies are elected.
There has been a deadlock between Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Khurshid Shah in choosing the caretaker premier for the interim period. The two had around half a dozen meetings but have so far failed to come up with a consensus name.
If this deadlock continued to persist, and the two failed to take a joint decision till Monday, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq will then form an eight-member parliamentary committee to decide a name for the caretaker premier.
Prime Minister Abassi and Leader of Opposition Shah will send two names each to this committee which will have four members each from treasury and opposition from both houses of parliament.
The proposed committee once notified would be tasked to select one of the four nominees – the two names sent by leader of the opposition and two by the prime minister within three days of its notification.
If this committee also fails to evolve consensus within the time, the matter would be referred to the ECP for appointing the caretaker prime minister. Same is the procedure for caretaker chief ministers in case of provinces.
Till the time caretaker PM is selected and takes oath, incumbent prime minister can continue the duties. Same is with the chief ministers in the four provinces.
The five-year constitutional term of the National Assembly and the Punjab Assembly will end on May 31 while the Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan assemblies will complete their terms on May 28.
According to clause 224 of the Constitution, elections for the national and provincial assemblies are to be held within 60 days following the day the term of the assemblies expires.
Meanwhile, ECP has reviewed preparations for the general elections. It directed provincial chief secretaries to ensure security of returning officers and polling staff.
In the final electoral list for the July 2018 general elections compiled by the election authorities, there are a total of 105.95 million voters in the country.
Among them are 59.2 million male and 46.7 million female voters, showing an ever-increasing gender gap of over 12.5 million.
Punjab, the biggest province in terms of population and number of seats in the National Assembly, has 60.6 million registered voters – 33.67 million among them are male and 26.99 million are female voters.
In Sindh’s 22.39 million registered voters, 12.43 million are male and 9.95 million are female voters. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has 15.31 million voters, having 8.7 million male and 6.61 million female voters in the new updated electoral rolls.
In Balochistan, there are 4.2 million voters – 2.4 million among them are male and 1.8 million female voters.
Fata has 2.5 million voters – 1.5 million male and one million female voters, while Islamabad Capital Territory has 0.76 million voters. Among those 407,463 are male and 357,885 are female voters.
ECP has already notified delimitations and appointed returning officers to supervise the polls. District returning officers and returning officers have been taken mostly from the lower judiciary, while assistant returning officers were selected from civil bureaucracy, mainly the district administration group officers.