ECP Likely to Announce January 28 as Election Date

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is considering to hold the next general elections on January 28, 2024, sources said on Friday. The ECP is expected to write to the Supreme Court (SC) within the next two days to inform it about the proposed poll date, the sources added.

The ECP’s decision comes after the SC sought its response in a case regarding the timely holding of elections. A three-member bench of the SC, headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, is hearing petitions filed by various parties, including the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), seeking elections within the constitutional limit of 90 days after the dissolution of the assemblies.

The SCBA lawyer told the court that the 90-day period would end on November 3. However, the CJP observed that it was not possible to meet the deadline and expressed dissatisfaction over the lack of preparations by the petitioners.

The CJP also noted that the ECP did not make itself available for consultation as required by law and directed it to propose a date that deviates as little as possible from the deadline.

The national and provincial assemblies were dissolved on August 9, following which a caretaker government led by Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar was formed. The ECP decided to delay the elections due to the approval of the seventh population census by the Council of Common Interests (CCI) on August 6. The census results made it mandatory for the ECP to conduct fresh delimitations of constituencies before holding elections.

The ECP announced the schedule of new delimitations on August 17 and said that it would issue the final list of constituencies on November 30. According to sources, the ECP has completed most of its preparations for holding elections and is waiting for the approval of the president and the SC.

The announcement of January 28 as the likely election date has sparked mixed reactions from political parties and analysts. Some have welcomed it as a step towards restoring democracy, while others have questioned its legality and transparency. Some have also raised concerns over the security situation.

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