The Ministry of Planning in a briefing to the meeting of the Council of Common Interest (CCI), chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and attended by Cabinet ministers, provincial chief ministers as well as other senior officials, showed that Pakistan’s population had reached 240.10 million.
All participants unanimously approved the results of the census carried out in March and April with enumerators going door to door, while people also had an option to login and register their family details.
After the approval of its result, it is mandatory for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to carry out a new delimitation exercise to determine new electoral districts in the entire country for elections, which is expected to impact the 60 or 90 days period needed to hold the upcoming elections after the end of the term of the current national assembly.
Former secretary of the ECP Kanwar Dilshad had earlier told Geo News that if the CCI approved the census 2023, elections would be held in 2024.
“If the gazette notification of the new digital census is issued on the recommendations of the CCI, then the ECP is legally bound under Article 51(5) of the Constitution to conduct fresh delimitation,” he said.
Elections should be held within 60 days if the assembly completes its term, which is August 12 in the case of the existing assembly, while the limit for polls is 90 days if the National Assembly is dissolved even one day before its completion.
The government will dissolve the parliament on August 9 to get 90 days for the election but even then it may not be possible to hold polls on time.
Law Minister Azam Tarar told Geo News that the CCI approved the census results and after its decision, the ECP needed at least 140 days to carry out the delimitation of constituencies. “It is up to the ECP to determine when an election will be held,” he said.
The minister also said the number of seats in the National Assembly and the share of provinces would remain the same.
He also clarified that the caretaker government would run the country until elections were held and there was no legal bar on it.