Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has indicated that General Elections in Pakistan for the national and provincial assemblies scheduled to be held next year might get delayed, and may not take place as per the schedule.
While quoting the reason, one of the PBS sources stated:
“The final results of the Census 2017 will be available in April 2018”
Interestingly, it was only last week that the PBS had recommended to the Council of Common Interests (CCI) to make constitutional amendment to hold next general elections on the basis of fresh census data.
Federal Minister for Statistics Kamran Michael, had been reported in media to have said in a press conference:
“We have recommended to the CCI in the last meeting to make constitutional amendment to replace the word ‘final’ with ‘provisional’ results to hold next general elections on the basis of 6th population census.”
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The provincial results have already been approved by the Council of Common Interest (CCI). In addition, the results were also shared with the media and the respective governments. However, certain quarters, especially the political parties in Sindh have expressed some reservations regarding the provisional results.
The current population of Pakistan stands at 207.7 million minus the disputed territories. Punjab leads the population chart with more than 110 million while Sindh followed with 47 million. The population of KP, as per PBS, stands at 30 million while Baluchistan had some 12 million residents.
On Wednesday, as the developments unfold, the Sindh High Court has directed the CCI, the PBS, and Sindh chief secretary to file their comments on a petition that has been filed challenging the provisional census results.
One of the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) official said:
“The delay in declaring the final results of the Census 2017 may have serious complications for holding the General Elections in 2018”
Elections and census result are co-related
Additionally, he also stated that elections in Pakistan are supposed to take place after taking into account the population in accordance with the latest census result.
He further went on to say that even if the final results are declared in April 2018, then ECP will be unable to conduct election next year as per the constitutional requirement.
CCI has already given a deadline to PBS to publish the census results as soon as they could by December 2017. The idea behind the deadline is to smoothly conduct elections in Pakistan as per the schedule.