PESHAWAR: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is continuing preparations for the July 2 provincial elections in the tribal districts despite ongoing legislation process to increase the number of seats for merged districts in National and KP assemblies.
In case of postponement of the polls, the ECP will have to make new delimitation of constituencies. In an interview with TNN, Sohail Khan, the ECP spokesman for KP, said tribal provincial elections can only be delayed if the ongoing legislation completes before the election schedule.
“The bill has been passed by the National Assembly. In the next phase, it will be passed from the Senate after which it will go to the President of Pakistan for signature. After that the Ministry of Law will send a summary of the law to the ECP,” Sohail Khan said.
After seeing the summary, the Election Commission will assess various factors and make a decision about the postponement of polls.
“It is expected that the polls process will continue till completion of the legislation. If the polls are delayed, new constituencies will be demarcated which needs five to six months. In that case, the polls may be delayed by six months. The areas having more population are likely to get more seats,” said the ECP spokesman.
Preparations for the upcoming polls scheduled on July 2 have been completed to a great extent. Nomination papers have been submitted and scrutinised as well. Work has also been started on compiling final list of the candidates and training of the polling staff.
“Monitoring teams have also arrived in tribal districts and all the necessary equipment has been transported. Ballot papers have not been published yet as it can be done only after finalisation of the candidates’ list,” he said.
“We are prepared for the polling if it happens on July 2. Even if the polls are delayed then the Election Commission is also prepared for it,” he added.
After merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, tribal districts got 16 seats in the KP Assembly and six seats in the National Assembly on the basis of the latest population census. On May 13, the 26th Constitutional Amendment Bill was passed in the National Assembly which envisages increase in the representation for the merged districts. The bill envisages 12 seats for tribal districts in the National Assembly and 24 seats in the provincial assembly. Before the tabling of the constitutional amendment bill in the National Assembly, the ECP had announced schedule for elections on 16 provincial seats of tribal districts under which polls were to be held on July 2. After passage of the bill, the polls may be delayed for few months.