The Election Commission of Pakistan has conducted ‘re-description’ in 130 constituencies of the National Assembly and in 292 provincial assemblies across Pakistan. The move comes on the heels of the decision to carry out contentious delimitations in some constituencies of Karachi.
In this ‘re-description process’, the boundaries of the constituencies remain the same, however changes are made in census blocks and newly built settlements that fall within the boundary of a constituency. The redefined constituencies notified now will serve as final constituencies for upcoming elections scheduled for May 11.
The commission claims that under the law, the ECP cannot carry out delimitations without a population census, however, it is empowered to do ‘re-descriptions’ wherever it feels necessary before the general elections. “The re-description does not affect electoral results. It is not a change of boundary of any constituency… not even an inch of land has been added or deducted from any constituency,” an ECP official said.
When compared with past limits of the constituencies used for the 2008 elections, apparently some areas appear missing or some new areas seen added in the constituency, causing confusion.
For example, under a 2007 notification on constituencies on the basis of which the 2008 general elections were held, NA-198 Sukkur-cum-Shikarpur constituency comprised: “New Sukkur Taluka (newly constituted), Sukkur Taluka (reconstituted), Rohri Municipal Committee of Sukkur District and following Dehs of TC Goserji of STC Bhirhan (reconstituted) of Lakhi Taluka (reconstituted) Goserji and Deh Dhreha (Previously part of TC Goserji of STC Bagerji of Sukkur Taluka District Sukkur) of Shikarpur District.”
The list of the names of the areas coming under NA-198 has been abridged in the new notification which will be used in this year’s elections. Areas that fall under this constituency are mentioned as: “New Sukkur Taluka, Sukkur Taluka (reconstituted) and Rohi Municipal Committee of Sukkur District.”
Apparently many of the names of areas mentioned in the 2007 gazette are missing, and there is no mention of areas falling under Shikarpur District. However, the ECP denies that the boundary of any constituency has been changed.
Sher Afghan, director elections at ECP explained that in some areas the population rapidly increases while new settlements are built within the boundary of that constituency. These areas are readjusted in the constituency accordingly, however, the boundaries of the constituency remain the same.
On March 22, the ECP had notified the delimitations of three National Assembly and eight provincial assembly constituencies in Karachi on the orders of the Supreme Court. These new changes are also incorporated in the report over final constituencies for the 2013 elections.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2013.
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