Election Commission of Pakistan to go ahead with delimitation in Karachi
By: Iftikhar A. Khan
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decided on Thursday to move ahead with a plan for a Karachi-specific delimitation exercise to address the allegation that a systematic division of voters on linguistic lines had been carried out during the previous such exercise.
The ECP, which met here with Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, asked the Sindh provincial election commissioner to submit a detailed proposal for the exercise, including the schedule and modus operandi for delimitation of the city.
The proposal will be reviewed by the ECP and submitted before the Supreme Court after necessary modifications.
ECP Secretary Ishtiak Ahmad Khan told reporters after the meeting that the delimitation would be carried out in line with the Supreme Court’s judgments of Oct 6 last year and Nov 28 this year, the Constitution and the law.
He said that since the government of Sindh had made it clear that no change in administrative units was required, the commission, in exercise of its powers under Section 10-A of the Delimitation Act, would make necessary modification in the existing boundaries of constituencies in the city.He said proposals had been received from at least 10 political parties about delimitation in Karachi and they would also be examined by the ECP before the exercise.
He said the delimitation would be fair. Nobody would be deprived of his right and the work would be carried out only to address the injustice done to those who had been removed from the limits of a constituency they were supposed to be in, he added.
VOTER VERIFICATION: The secretary said the provincial election commissioner had been asked to write letters regarding a door-to-door voter re-verification campaign in the city to the departments concerned.
Mr Khan said he had also been told to write letters to the defence secretary and the Karachi corps headquarters, seeking army personnel for providing security to some 18,000 enumerators.
The ECP secretary told Dawn that he had established telephonic contact with the defence secretary and informed him about the requirement for army personnel for assistance in the verification work.
In reply to a question, he said the army would decide about the number of personnel required for the purpose and the letters would be sent soon.
Mr Khan said the re-verification was expected to be completed by the third week of February – less than a month ahead of the end of the assemblies’ term. Two weeks were needed to arrange manpower, one month for door-to-door verification and the remaining time for correction in the voters’ lists.
He said a meeting on security arrangements for the coming general election would be held on Jan 2. The defence secretary and senior officials of law enforcement agencies were expected to attend the meeting.
He said armed forces’ personnel would be deployed in and outside polling stations in Karachi, Fata and some constituencies in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
BY-POLLS COMPLAINTS: The ECP decided not to take action against those winning candidates whose supporters had resorted to firing in the air in jubilation after the Dec 4 by-elections in Punjab and Sindh. “These were general complaints and not under Section 103-A of the People’s Representation Act,” Mr Khan told reporters. Doors were open for the aggrieved to go to election tribunals, he added.
In reply to a question, he said cases had been registered against those who had resorted to firing and many of them had been arrested.
The code of conduct for polls in the past had remained mere paperwork, but now a mechanism had been devised to ensure its implementation in letter and spirit and take action against those who violated it, Mr Khan said.