PPP, JI senators term ECP decision to delay elections ‘unconstitutional’

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By Webdesk

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani (left) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan. — APP/File
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani (left) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan. — APP/File 
  • PPP’s Raza Rabbani says the ECP decision violates Article 224.
  • “Constitution has been violated at will, convenience in last 4 years.” 
  • Mushtaq Ahmad says CCI had no authority to give a nod to census.

Senators of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) spoke against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to carry out new delimitations, saying that it was “unconstitutional” as the electoral body is bound to hold elections within 90 days. 

A day earlier, the poll organising authority announced the schedule of new delimitations to be carried out as per the new census approved by the Council of Common Interests (CCI) earlier this month.

The ECP schedule showed that fresh delimitation will take nearly four months, meaning the general elections in the country cannot be held within 90 days of the dissolution of the provincial and national assemblies.

Rabbani, in an official statement, said that the ECP’s publication of the final list of constituencies violates Article 224 of the Constitution as it directs to hold elections “within” 90 days after the assembly is dissolved. 

“The delimitation of constituencies flows from the Election Act, 2017, particularly when the provincial number of seats is not being affected. In order to meet a constitutional requirement the time provisions in the schedule should have been squeezed,” said the statement. 

He added that the ECP could have asked the federal and provincial government for additional staff to complete the task to ensure elections within 90 days. 

“Previously there was an attempt to provide a fig leaf for a constitutional violation but in the past four years the Constitution has been violated at will and convenience,” said Rabbani, adding that it is  “very dangerous” for the federation.

Meanwhile, JI’s Khan said that the electoral body’s decision to postpone elections under the guise of fresh delimitations was “unconstitutional”. 

He said the decision violates Article 224 of the Constitution, adding that the CCI had no authority to give approval to the census. Khan also said that the previous government facilitated the ECP in this “unconstitutional process”. 

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