ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s election oversight body has said it will announce fresh demarcation of constituencies by Nov. 30 as the South Asian country heads to the general elections in February.
Elections in the politically and economically beleaguered South Asian nation were due to be held in November but were delayed after the Election Commission of Pakistan said it had to freshly draw up hundreds of constituencies under a new census.
On Nov. 2, the regulator said the balloting would be held on Feb. 8, a date chosen following consultations with the country’s President Dr. Arif Alvi that were requested by the country’s Supreme Court.
“Delimitation of constituencies is being finalized for official release on 30th of this month,” state-run APP reported on Sunday, quoting the ECP.
“ECP was also set to enlist over one million individuals for the polling process as a list of Presiding Officers, Assistant Presiding Officers and polling staff is being finalized for nationwide deployment.”
Pakistan is currently being run by a caretaker government under interim Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar that is meant to oversee a general election. Originally, elections were to be held within 90 days of the dissolution of the lower house of parliament in August.
Independent analysts have already questioned the transparency of the upcoming election which former premier Imran Khan, the main opposition leader, cannot fight after he was barred from public office for five years after a corruption investigation. Ahead of his conviction and imprisonment, Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party had voiced fears the vote could be delayed indefinitely or would skewed in favor of the opponents of the ex-PM.
Election results are rarely accepted across the board in Pakistan and perceptions of bias could further taint over the credibility of the process.
Despite the delay, the announcement that elections would be in February have eased some political uncertainty as the country struggles to stay on a narrow stabilization path under a $3 billion bailout plan by International Monetary Fund (IMF).