Next elections to be based on digital census: Ahsan Iqbal

Rejecting PTI's demand, planning minister says general elections are not possible before Oct 2023

APP December 21, 2022
Ahsan Iqbal. PHOTO: PID


Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal has reiterated that the next general elections in the country will be held in October 2023 based on the 7th Digital Population Housing Census 2022.

Addressing the digital media influencers on Tuesday, the minister said that the general elections are not possible before October 2023 due to the recent floods that badly affected the two provinces — Sindh and Punjab.

“What message will go to the flood-affected people if elections are announced before the completion of the incumbent government’s term,” said the minister, while referring to the demand of PTI chief Imran Khan.

Former premier Imran Khan has been demanding immediate elections since his government was removed through a vote of no-confidence in March this year.

The minister further added that the last general elections were held on the basis of an old census and Sindh province had conditionally agreed to hold the next election of 2023 based on a fresh digital census. Therefore, he said that the government will not take any step which makes the whole election process controversial.

In April 2023, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) will formally handover the digital census to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and subsequently ECP will take four months to complete the delimitation, Iqbal remarked

Also read: ECP wants digital census results by March

He added former PM Imran had also endorsed Council of Common Interest (CII) decision to hold next elections on the basis of fresh Digital Census.

While referring to a fabricated story of Daily Mail against Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the minister said the premier immediately took action against the newspaper as a result they tendered an apology.

Furthermore, the federal minister said that since the coalition government came into power, several projects have been started which were stopped by the previous government as during the last four years no progress was made on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.

The incumbent government has restarted the dredging of Gwadar International Airport, which was halted by the previous government.

Similarly, two transmission lines for Gwadar have been resumed and it will be functional in January 2023, the minister said.

Iqbal further added that global recession has also badly affected developed countries and-Pakistan is the country that has been facing its negative impact after Covid-19 pandemic.

The minister also highlighted the negative impact of polarised society in which he said former prime minister Imran Khan played a key role. “There is a dire need for solidarity and unity as the country cannot progress with a polarisation mindset.”


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