Proper delimitation must for fair elections, prosperous nation

KP govt decides to hold PA polls ahead of LG polls in tribal districts

PESHAWAR: All constituencies are required to be delimited having regard to the distribution of population in geographically compact areas, existing boundaries of administrative units, facilities of communication, public convenience and other cognate factors to ensure homogeneity in the creation of constituencies.
And these factors are determined in a population census, giving clear road map for future course of actions for those who are calling shots at the government affairs to serve the countrymen in better manner and put the country at par with development countries in terms of socio-economic development.
Since here in Pakistan Parliamentary system is vogue and people elect their representative to the bicameral legislature for getting their problems resolved.
Mostly least number of elected members or disproportion of number of MNA or PMAs with constituencies strength create problems and the political leaders are ignorant or unable to take care of constituency which undergo changes as the time passes on.
Resultantly people descend to abject poverty besides facing several other challenges like education and health issues, looking up at their elected leaders to help out.
Thus, population census is conducted to know about facts or factors which accumulate or surface over the course of time, necessitating for carrying out delimitations enabling elected figures to serve public more efficiently.
Given such factual scenario it is right step in the right direction by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct delimitation of constituencies for elections to the National and Provincial Assemblies.
However, certain political parties have their own standpoint to the particular issue like ANP and JUIF, describing as delaying tactics for upcoming general elections.
Central Secretary General of Awami National Party (ANP) Mian Iftikhar Hussain while talking to this agency criticized Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for carrying out delimitation process and said it was an attempt to force pubic to move court and general elections could be delayed.
He said ANP wanted timely elections in the country and would support early general elections in the country, adding that ECP should have to strengthen its decisions so that there should be no confusion among voters and candidates.
Provincial Secretary Information of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUIF) Abdul Jalil Jan said that voters should be facilitated rather confused, adding that in upcoming general elections voters would remain confused as to where they cast their vote.
He predicted low turnout during the upcoming general elections due to delimitation process and held the ECP responsible for that.
But Election Commissioner of Pakistan was insisting that it has fulfilled the constitutional obligation and carried out the delimitation process.
“Constitutionally it is the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan to delimit constituencies of National and Provincial Assemblies on the basis of population geographically distributed,” the spokesman of provincial election commission Sohail Ahmad said.
He said under article 51, 106 and 222, Chapter III of newly promulgated Act, 2017 comprising Section 17 to 22, (Rules 7 to 24) deals with delimitation of constituencies for elections to the National and Provincial Assemblies, are required to be delimited after every census.
He said as a special case vide 24th Amendment of constitution of proviso has been added to the ibid Article wherein it is provided that for the purpose of next general elections to be held in 2018 and Bye-elections relating thereto the allocation of seats would be made on the basis of provisional results of 2017 census published by the Federal Government.
Last delimitation done in 2002 onthe basis of population census held in 1998.
In KP (the then NWFP), total 35 NA seats and 99 seats in Provincial Assembly were notified.
For National Assembly constituency population quota was fixed as 506,740 and for provincial assembly ceiling was fixed as 179,151, before general Elections 2008 and 2013 constituencies were re-described.
In the recent delimitation ceiling for NA constituency was fixed as 7,79,000 around 3,08000 approx respectively on the basis of provisional data of population census.
According to the impact of the new census, Punjab lost 09 NA seats and amongst them 4 NA general constituencies came to KP and as such its total seats increased and total reached to 39 while total 99 PA constituencies remained unchanged.
However some districts lost PA constituencies and some got additional. According to the detail in KP, One each NA constituency added to Peshawar, Swat, Lower Dir and Tank.
Similarly District Abbottabad, Haripur, Chitral, Swabi and Charsadda lost one each PA constituency which were adjusted in other districts. Peshawar got 3, Swat and Lower Dir got one each PA seat.
There are some unexpected changes occurred in the recently held delimitation in KP and FATA.
Chitral lost one PA seat despite the fact that the present Govt of PTI has already announced existing Chitral district into two districts.
Residents including all political parties from Chitral District showed resentments over cutting off one PA seat.
For which they filed representation but could not be entertained.
Similarly NA seat of Tank comprised some part DIKhan has got independent NA seat.
According to the principles enshrined for the delimitation variation in population of constituencies of an Assembly shall not exceed ten percent. – APP


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