ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced on Friday that the eagerly anticipated timetable for general elections would be released 54 days prior to the February 8 elections — anticipated to be in the third week of December — amid escalating political tensions in the country.
In June, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government modified Section 57 of the Elections Act, granting authority to the election organizing body to set a date for the general election. This amendment defined the procedural timeline from the announcement of the polls’ schedule until the polling day, approximately 54 days in duration.
During an informal discussion with journalists, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja was queried about the commission’s plan to unveil the election schedule. In reply, he indicated, “Count 54 days back from February 8.”
The CEC highlighted the release of updated constituency lists and assured the smooth progress of all other election prerequisites. He emphasized the ECP’s proactive approach in handling election-related responsibilities well ahead of schedule.
He affirmed the timely announcement of the election schedule, along with the appointment of returning officers (ROs) and district returning officers (DROs), ensuring these would be carried out at the appropriate juncture.
Amid skepticism in political circles regarding timely elections, pressure mounted on the election commission to issue the polling schedule, while others cited various reasons expecting a delay in the already postponed polls.
However, the ECP finalized the delimitation list of constituencies for the national and four provincial assemblies, dismissing any potential delay in the elections.
As per the notification issued by the election commission, Article 51(3) of the Constitution outlines the composition of the National Assembly, consisting of 266 general seats, with 60 seats reserved for women and 10 for non-Muslims.
Balochistan has a total of 20 NA seats, comprising 16 general seats and four reserved seats for women; Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has 45 general NA seats and 10 reserved seats for women; Sindh has a total of 75 NA seats, including 61 general and 14 reserved for women.
Punjab, the most populous province, holds the largest share of 141 general NA seats and 32 seats reserved for women. Meanwhile, the federal capital has representation of three general seats in the National Assembly with no reserved seats for women.
Article 106 delineates the constituencies of the four provincial legislatures. Balochistan encompasses 51 general seats, 11 reserved for women, and three for non-Muslims, totaling 65 seats.
Similarly, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa consists of 115 general seats, 26 reserved for women, and four for non-Muslims, summing up to 145 seats in the legislature.
Sindh comprises 130 general seats, with 29 reserved for women and nine for non-Muslims, making the total number of seats 168.
Moreover, Punjab boasts 297 general seats, 66 reserved for women, and eight for non-Muslims. The total strength of the provincial legislature stands at 371 seats.