The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has affirmed that the scheduled elections for 2024 will proceed as planned on February 8, rebuffing a resolution put forth in the Senate to postpone the upcoming general polls.
According to reports in local media, ECP sources emphasized that any delay in the elections would require an order from the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The stance of the election commission comes in response to a resolution passed earlier in the day by the upper house of the Pakistani Parliament, proposing a deferment of the general elections. Senator Dilawar Khan presented the resolution, citing concerns related to security conditions and the inclement weather.
In the resolution, Senator Khan pointed to an escalation in security incidents, particularly in the regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. He mentioned that Pakistan’s interior ministry had communicated “serious threats to [the] lives of prominent politicians.” Additionally, Senator Khan highlighted the challenging winter conditions, asserting that adverse weather would impede political parties in conducting effective campaigns, potentially affecting voter turnout.
The resolution advocated for the postponement of the scheduled elections on February 8, 2024, to facilitate the active participation of people from all regions and political affiliations in the electioneering process.
However, only 14 out of the 97 senators present in the upper chamber supported the proposal, with one senator opposing the resolution and voting against it.
In Pakistan’s 75-year history, there have been 11 prior general elections, with three of them (1985, 1997, and 2008) taking place in February. Following the dissolution of the lower house of parliament in August of the previous year, Pakistan was initially slated to conduct national elections in November.
The Election Commission has conveyed that preparations for the February 8 polls are in the final stages. Recently, the electoral body released details of the polling scheme, revealing the establishment of 91,809 polling stations for 120.85 million voters. The breakdown includes 60.92 million male voters and 50.93 million female voters. Over 1.07 million polling staff, comprised of presiding officers, assistant presiding officers, and polling officers, will be deployed on the election day across the country’s constituencies. For instance, Punjab will see 526,123 polling staff at 51,821 polling stations, while Sindh will have 264,100 polling officers at 19,236 polling stations.