Electoral rolls to be final only by May: Pak EC

Pakistan`s EC announced that new electoral rolls cannot be finalised by February 23 as mandated by the Supreme Court.

Islamabad: Pakistan`s Election Commission
on Monday announced that new electoral rolls cannot be finalised
by February 23 as mandated by the Supreme Court, saying the
process could only be completed by May.

Chief Election Commissioner Hamid Ali Mirza said during a
meeting with leaders of the country`s main political parties
that his organisation would be unable to the finalise new
voters` lists by the deadline set by the apex court.

Mirza said the rolls could only be finalised by May and
that the election Commission had sent a report in this regard
to the Supreme Court.

The Constitution gives every state institution the right
to work within its limits and the Election Commission should
be allowed to work within its domain, he said.

Any failure by the poll panel to fulfil all
constitutional obligations while finalising the electoral
rolls would amount to a violation of the Constitution, Mirza

Most of the political parties present at the meeting,
including the PML-Q and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, backed the
Election Commission’s stand.

The meeting was convened by the poll panel for
consultations with the parties on finalising the electoral
rolls and other related issues.

In a related development, Mirza and Election Commission
Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan said the staying of several bye-
polls by the Supreme Court was a violation of the Constitution
but the poll panel would honour the apex court`s order.

Addressing a news conference, Khan said the Supreme Court
did not hear the Election Commission before issuing the order
to stay the bye-elections on the ground that the electoral
rolls contained the names of bogus voters.

Khan made it clear that authorities would issue the final
voters’ lists no earlier than May 25.

He dismissed the impression that the rolls were being
prepared at the behest of "some entity".

In his remarks at the meeting, Chief Election
Commissioner Mirza described the Supreme Court`s order to stay
scheduled bye-elections as a move "against the Constitution".

He said the apex court`s move was a violation of the
constitution as the Election Commission was constitutionally
bound to hold bye-elections within 60 days of a seat falling