The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) asked the law ministry on Monday to take necessary legislative and administrative steps so that the commission could reallocate seats in national and provincial assemblies in accordance with the fresh census.
In a letter to Law Secretary Karamat Hussain Niazi, ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhmmad referred to the provisions of Article 51(5) which state that the National Assembly seats should be allocated to each province, FATA and the federal capital according to the population.
The ECP official said the provisional results shared by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics showed that “tangible demographic changes had taken place in the federal units” which may necessitate reallocation of seats in both national and provincial assemblies.
He added that the ECP was obliged to carry out delimitation in “accordance with the provisions of Chapter-III of the Election Act 2017,” adding that section 17(2) ibid required the Commission to delimit constituencies after every census was officially published.
“Keeping in view the importance, magnitude of work and the time period required for completion of different stages of delimitation constituencies, it is apprehended that in case of delayed official publication of Census results, timely completion of delimitation exercise could not be possible,” the letter reads.
The census provisional summary results, presented in a meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) on Friday, showed that the population had surged to a staggering 207.8 million, showing an increase of 75.4 million people in 19 years.
The results have been rejected by Pakistan People’s Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and Sindhi nationalist parties, claiming that the province’s population had deliberately been shown less to gain political mileage.