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IHC upholds delimitation of constituencies in Islamabad, Karachi and six other districts

IHC upholds delimitation of constituencies in Islamabad, Karachi and six other districts

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday upheld the delimitation of 10 constituencies in eight districts as it dismissed over 20 petitions seeking to set aside Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s notification regarding delimitation.

Justice Aamer Farooq, after hearing the point of view of the petitioners and the ECP at length, dismissed the petitions filed against the delimitation of district Islamabad, Karachi, Bhakkar, Batgram, Layyah, Mandi Bahauddin, Sargodha and Mirpur Khas.

The court, however, reserved its verdict on the delimitation of Abbottabad.

On Wednesday, IHC Judge Aamer Farooq had declared the delimitation of Kharan, Ghotki, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Bahawalpur and Haripur void.

On Tuesday the court set aside the delimitation of constituencies in four districts — Jehlum, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh and Lower Dir. The court had remanded all these cases back to the ECP for rehearing.

According to the Elections Act 2017, the constituencies for elections to the national and provincial assemblies are to be delimited after every census.

However, after the recent delimitation of the constituencies following last year's census, over 120 petitions from different constituencies were filed in the IHC. The petitioners are from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) and various other political parties.

Also read: Delimitation & identity politics

The petitioners had raised objections to the delimitation and pointed out that the constituencies have been established prior to the elections on political grounds. They had asserted that the candidate’s objectives and stance are necessary for a constituency. The petitions requested the court to set aside the current delimitation.

It had been argued that standard procedures had not been followed in the delimitation of the constituencies. As per procedure, the ECP follows a set formula for the number of national and provincial assembly seats allotted in a district. However, the final mapping within the districts remains largely opaque and open to controversy.

In this regard, the court had earlier upheld the ECP’s decision and dismissed the petitions filed against the delimitation of Khanewal, Chiniot, Karrum Agency, Rajanpur, Mansehra, Swabi, Jacobabad, Gujranwala, Umerkot, Rahimyar Khan, Sialkot, Bannu and Chakwal.

Justice Farooq ruled that the regulations governing the proportioning of population during the delimitation of constituencies that have been followed in other cases should be kept in view while delimiting constituencies in the districts in question as well.

He will hear petitions regarding delimitation of eight constituencies on Friday.

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