Pakistan’s general elections under new census indicates delay

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – A general election in Pakistan due to take place later this year will be held using a new census, the law minister said on Saturday, indicating it could delayed by several months.

Azam Nazeer Tarar told Geo News TV that it could take about four months to complete the process of a census and draw new constituency boundaries.

He said the decision was taken a meeting of Council of Common Interest (CCI) which included representatives from federal government and provincial governments.

“It was a consensus decision to hold elections under the new census,” the minister said.

The 7th census has completed the headcount, which a statement from prime minister house said had risen to 241.49 million, but it will require new delimitations of the constituencies which the minister said will need about four months extra.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will decide exactly how much time it will need for the delimitations, Tarar said.

That means the elections due by November at the latest could be delayed by several months, a former official of the ECP, Kunwar Dilshad, told Geo TV.

It was not possible to complete the delimitations and hold the elections within the constitutionally required deadline, he said.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has proposed to dissolve parliament on Aug. 9, three days ahead of the end of its term.

That means the election commission will have 90 days to hold the election against 60 days in case of parliament being dissolved on Aug. 12 on completion of its full five-year term.

(Reporting by Asif Shahzad; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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