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PM remarks put elections in doubt

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ISLAMABAD (Web Desk) – The latest remarks of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif regarding elections has stirred another debate on the timings of next polls.

Talking to a private news channel, the premier said that the next elections would be held on the basis of the latest digital census conducted earlier this year.

“The census has been conducted, and we have to hold elections on its basis,” the prime minister said in his latest interview.

The final document would be presented before the Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting after consolidating the census results, the PM said, as it is a legal requirement.

All four Chief Ministers are members of CCI.

When asked about the delay of elections as the census results haven’t been compiled yet, the prime minister said it is ECP’s responsibility to hold the polls on time.

It merits mention here that ECP has already expressed its inability to hold polls based on the latest census.

The ECP will have to carry out fresh delimitation of constituencies based on the new headcount.

The seats in the National Assembly are allocated to each province and federal territory based on the latest published population census.

A constitutional amendment would also be required if the number of seats was altered after the publication of census results.

Meanwhile, Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal said that elections could not be held within 90 days based on the latest digital census results.

In a separate TV interview, Iqbal, the secretary general of PML-N, said that the 90-day limit would be exceeded if the new digital census is approved.

He believed that the ECP would have to go for a fresh delimitation process if elections were to be held based on the latest digital census.

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