The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has unveiled the preliminary list of seats for the Balochistan Provincial Assembly.
Notably, these seats have been categorized based on population size. Among them, the smallest seat is situated in Awaran, encompassing a total population of 187,000 residents. In contrast, the largest seat, population-wise, is Chaman, boasting a population of 466,000 individuals.
In addition to this demographic shift, several other changes have occurred in the distribution of seats in the province.
Specifically, the seats in Chaman and Qilla Abdullah have been reduced from their previous count of three each to two seats. Conversely, the seats in Panjgur have seen an increase from one to two.
Additionally, a new electoral constituency has been established, merging Barkhan District and Musa Khel District. Furthermore, Harnai has been separated from Ziarat and is now part of the Sibi District Constituency. These alterations reflect the dynamic nature of population distribution within Balochistan.
Back in May, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) adopted a resolute stance regarding the delay in the delimitation process in Balochistan.
Consequently, the ECP issued a notice to the chief secretary of the province, signaling the gravity of the situation. This matter was addressed in a crucial meeting under the leadership of Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja.
During the proceedings, it was brought to the ECP’s attention that the secretary of local government in Balochistan had failed to provide the essential documents and pertinent notifications required for the delimitation process. This lapse persisted despite an order from the Balochistan High Court issued on October 23, 2022.
The significant delay in the delimitation process has had cascading effects, including hindering the scheduling of elections in the province. Delimitation plays a pivotal role in ensuring equitable representation and establishing electoral boundaries that align with shifts in population. It is a cornerstone of upholding democratic principles and facilitating the equal participation of all citizens in the electoral process.
The notice issued by the ECP to the Chief Secretary of Balochistan underscores the urgency and significance of promptly completing the delimitation process. The ECP anticipates the timely provision of the requisite documents and notifications, allowing the delimitation process to proceed seamlessly and enabling elections to be conducted as per the designated schedule.
In 2022, the acting speaker of the Balochistan Assembly, Sardar Babar Khan Musakhail, contested the ECP’s decision to merge Musakhail into the Barkhan provincial assembly constituency in the new delimitation.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th2023.