Dec 21, 2012

Delimitation in Karachi is not viable while General Election is due within few months


Delimitation especially in Karachi will not suffice to obtain a transparent number of residents living in Karachi - a metropolis city accommodating approx. 20.0 million inhabitants. It’s a mega task and certainly cannot be wrapped up in 3-4 months even if a complete team equipped with electronic overheads & goes with heavy security contingent, will not be able to achieve.
It refers Supreme Court recent directive to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) giving verdict of petition filed by some political factions claiming miscalculation of voter list that votes has been shifted out of Karachi.

The Judiciary however asked ECP to delimit Karachi or ‘new delimitation of electoral constituencies’ seeking army help through door-to-door voters verification said in the court verdict.
The court also asked explanation from provincial interior ministry to submit report that what ‘safety and security measures’ have been taken to control the rising lawlessness where ‘Karachi’ has been converted into a riot city, daily strike calls from different groups, arson public & private properties, bank robberies, constant target killing, kidnapping and ransom, Bhatta mafia etc. have been the talk of the town whilst one day business closure (stock market/ banks/ ports) costing Rs.2.0 Billion per day in Karachi.

Step taken however by Judiciary in order to delimit specifically in ‘Karachi’ attracts ambiguity & suspicion about rival group who misled the institution or wants to break the vote bank already being enjoyed by one of the political faction in Karachi. They urged the ECP to initiate same exercise of delimitation across the provinces in Pakistan instead to do only in Karachi said by one political leader debating on Private TV Channel.
The same petition for wrong voter list could be filed from other provinces as well but it did not happen as there is hold of one party or one political group dominating the province & city – Not mix political factions similar to Karachi he further added.

And initially it falls into the ambit of Election Commission of Pakistan if there is or was any delimitation issue. ECP is an independent and autonomous constitutional body, charged with the function of conducting transparent, free, fair and impartial elections for National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies not Supreme court. 
Nevertheless the ECP has taken the base of 1998 census to conduct General Election in the country clarified on TV debate. As per population figure obtained as of July 2011 showing 190,291,129 people living in Pakistan and up to 15 million Pakistani of voting age may have been left out of the rolls due to different reasons said ECP in its analysis.

As per Final Electoral Rolls (FER-2012) there will be 84 million people eligible to vote leaving one in seven people without the right to vote based on 1998 census where the current population around 190 million.

About 51 per cent of the population is, according to the census report, aged 18 and above that implies an estimated 98 million Pakistanis are now eligible to vote but only 84 million Pakistanis have been included, said Final Electoral Rolls report.
The ECP estimates the gap to be even higher at 20 million voters. The last census in the country was conducted during 1998 (the era of peace & tranquility) by the Population Census Organization of Pakistan.

That massive exercise, which was supported by the Federal and Provincial governments, the Army, and other Law-enforcement agencies, generated data that is generally considered transparent and used by all National and International organizations for Planning and Resource Distribution report said.
Again, delimitation also required carrying out in Baluchistan, FATA & Punjab as about 4 million people are living in Karachi because of their jobs in this metropolis city since decades then how their names are still shown at their home town in electoral constituency said in National TV debate.  

Every year Monsoon torrential rain causes severe Flood havoc in the country where lives and properties are damaged and perished, from 200,000 to 250,000 people go homeless they live in make-shift area/ tents or in temporary houses, their home goes abandoned but their names still shows in the same electoral constituencies said by one participant. The death toll also tunes from 2000 to 10,000 every year.
Does ECP updates data for Sind, Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa & Punjab emphasized in National dailies?

Realistically the time is not suitable for 'delimitation' either in Karachi or other provinces, let the General Election go accordingly. Arrange country wide censorship which has not been since 1998 and then delimit the constituencies as per information collected during censorship.
Indeed a good decision from Election Commission of Pakistan will ensure conducive & congenial atmosphere to move forward for General Election in the country facilitating more room for new censorship afterwards.
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