Hold Free & Fair General Election for all assemblies by October 2023: PILDAT


May 30; General Election for National and four Provincial Assemblies in Pakistan must be held latest by October 2023 after the National Assembly completes its 5-year term on 12th August, PILDAT released a statement today.

The Election Commission of Pakistan must be fully prepared to hold General Election by October 2023 honestly, justly and fairly as is its Constitutional obligation, underscored PILDAT.

Only a free and fair and timely General Election (GE) can bring back desperately-needed political stability in Pakistan keeping in view recent political turmoil and mounting economic troubles facing Pakistan. Pakistan needs a government that has the mandate to take difficult decisions to fix the economy of the country in the next five years after the election, PILDAT added.

The current National Assembly will complete its five-year term on August 12, 2023. A fresh General Election for National Assembly and four (4) Provincial Assemblies elections must be conducted within 60 days, as laid down in the Constitution of Pakistan which suggests the latest conceivable date of October 12 for GE 2023. However, if the National Assembly is dissolved even one day before the completion of its term, the election must be held within 90 days which would make November 11, 2023 the final deadline for holding General Election. PILDAT has advised that under no circumstances the date of the General Election should be extended beyond this time if such a situation arises.

The accountability of individuals who are accused of committing a crime such as attacking the military properties on 9th May continues but it should not impede the political and electoral process in any way, the statement emphasized.

PILDAT reminded that although the emergency provisions of the constitution allow the extension in the term of the National Assembly by up to one year which may delay the National Assembly election up to October 2024, such an extension is not possible for the term of provincial assemblies. Any attempt to defer the National Assembly election under emergency provisions will stagger the schedule of national and provincial assembly elections which may create a similar situation that led to the postponement of the election of provincial assemblies in Punjab and KP beyond the constitutional limit of 90 days.

PILDAT urged that the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics should complete its 2023 Population Census findings and that the Council of Common Interests (CCI) approve the findings in time so that ECP is able to complete the Delimitation of Constituencies well in time before the election in October 2023.

PILDAT emphasized that postponement of the General Election beyond October-November 2023 is fraught with serious threats to the national polity, economy and integrity.