The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has officially declared that the general elections in Pakistan will be held in the last week of January 2024. This announcement follows a series of delays in the election timeline. Initially slated for October of the same year, the elections were postponed due to the early exit of the Shehbaz Sharif government and the necessity for a comprehensive census.
Publication of Constituencies Lists
The preliminary list of constituencies is set to be made public on September 27. Subsequently, after considering complaints and feedback on the preliminary lists, the final list of constituencies will be released on November 30. This meticulous process ensures transparency and fairness in constituency delineation.
The elections will span a 54-day period, culminating in the voting week at the end of January 2024. This extended timeline allows for comprehensive preparations and the smooth execution of the electoral process.
Caretaker Government and Census-Related Delay
In August of the same year, a caretaker government took office following the resignation of the Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition government just before the completion of its term. This transition pushed the election date back by an additional month. Additionally, the prior administration had stipulated that elections could only proceed after a new census was conducted and new constituency boundaries were established.
This delimitation process became imperative in light of the recent census, leading to concerns that it might further delay the polls, given that delimitation typically requires about four months to conclude.
Pressure and Constitutional Mandate
Pressure mounted on the Election Commission from various political parties to expedite the delimitation process. The Constitution mandates that the ECP should complete the delimitation within 120 days, reflecting the critical role of this process in ensuring fair and representative elections.
Political Landscape and Challenges
The upcoming elections are set against the backdrop of a significant political crisis in Pakistan. This crisis has witnessed the imprisonment of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, one of the country’s most prominent politicians, as well as a robust crackdown on his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.
Caretaker Government’s Commitment
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has expressed unwavering commitment to upholding Pakistan’s democratic process by ensuring the timely conduct of general elections. The caretaker government emphasizes its determination to proceed without making any excuses for further delays.