Islamabad - The Election Commission of Pakistan on Tuesday received a total number of 1,286 public complaints regarding the proposed delimitation of constituencies from four provinces, Islamabad Capital Territory and FATA.

April 3 was the last date for submission of complaints. As many as 706 public objections were received from Punjab and ICT, 284 from Sindh and KP and FATA 192 and 104 from Balochistan.

Meanwhile, the ECP has decided to start hearing the public complaints from today (Wednesday) to dispose them of within the one-month stipulated time.    

A five-member ECP panel headed by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan will take up for hearing complaints filed from two districts, Battagaram (KP) and Kasur (Punjab) on the first day.        

The ECP had to face serious criticism not only from the general public but also from some political parties and non- governmental organizations since when it had unveiled the proposed delimitation of constituencies in line with the sixth population census. They were of the view that the proposed delimitation had altogether changed the fundamental settings of the constituencies and some of them were full of discrepancies.

The National Assembly speaker has constituted a special parliamentary committee headed by Deputy Speaker Javed Murtaza Abbasi to look into the matter.

In its maiden meeting, the main panel formed a working group headed by Minister for Privatisation Danyal Aziz to formulate recommendations for the main committee, to be later presented before the National Assembly.

The working group firmed up and sent its recommendations to the main committee last Saturday.

Talking to the media, Aziz said the recommendations called for scraping the 24th amendment and bringing another to allow the next general election, due to be held in July, to be held on the basis of previous constituencies. The working group has also recommended changes in the relevant law that prescribes the procedure for hearing objections regarding any post-census delimitation.

Political observers believe, this step, if implemented would mean to curtail some powers of the ECP.

The working group has also demanded the formation of a high-powered commission through a presidential ordinance, to be later adopted by the parliament, to probe the Panama Papers controversy and the motive behind the ECP’s committee that marked fresh constituency boundaries.

The commission may exercise its authority to arrest members on the five ECP committees who drafted these delimitations.

The working group has also recommended the main committee to approach the SC and file a petition against the ECP.

It has also recommended that the National Assembly can also pass a resolution to implement the recommendations firmed up by the parliamentary panel.

According to parliamentary sources, the deputy speaker, who heads the special parliamentary committee, is working on the recommendations and would soon propose measures to National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq to rectify the situation in the larger public interest.