ECP rules out delay in February 8 election, vows legal action against fake news peddlers

“The distribution of the list has also begun in several districts,” says top election watchdog

By
Nausheen Yusuf
An anti-terrorist force personnel uses a metal detector to check the area of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in Islamabad on August 26, 2008. — AFP
An anti-terrorist force personnel uses a metal detector to check the area of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in Islamabad on August 26, 2008. — AFP

  • ECP spokesperson terms media reports 'baseless, misleading'.
  • Says Pemra approached to take action against fake news peddler.
  • Distribution of voter lists begin in several districts: ECP.


ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has rebuffed speculations casting aspersions on the upcoming general elections, warning that legal action can be initiated against those spreading misleading news about the delay in the polls scheduled for February next year.

Earlier this month, the country's top poll organising authority announced February 8, 2024, as the election date following consultation with President Arif Alvi on the Supreme Court's direction.

Since the announcement of the election date, rumours that the tenure of the caretaker setup would be extended died down, and all political parties welcomed the development.

However, despite the announcement by the election watchdog, some political leaders and analysts continued casting doubts that the election would take place in the country on time.

A spokesperson for the ECP, in a statement today, termed the media reports regarding election delay as “baseless and misleading”.

The statement said a report claiming that the voters’ lists were not being prepared is "completely false".

The spokesperson further said that it has approached the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to take legal action against those "spreading misleading news".

The poll authority has also sought transcripts and recordings of the news regarding election delay broadcast on various channels, as per the statement.

In another statement, the election commission said the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) was printing the final voter list.

“The distribution of the list has also begun in several districts,” the commission said, rebutting reports of the voter list not being ready yet.

The general elections in the country were supposed to be held within 90 days of the premature dissolution of the assemblies by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government in August this year.

However, the approval of the latest census results led to the delay in elections as the ECP said it was bound to carry out the new delimitation of the constituencies to fulfll the “constitutional obligation”.

Following the meeting of the ECP officials last week, the electoral body had announced that the final list of the freshly defined constituencies for the upcoming polls will be released on November 30, moving another step closer to the much-awaited general elections of 2024.

The meeting was apprised that the ECP had completed hearings on all the objections filed on the preliminary delimitation of constituencies and the final list of the fresh constituencies in the light of the commission's decision will be issued on November 30.

The poll watchdog had received over 1,300 objections on preliminary delimitation of constituencies by the end of October.

The statement read that the printing of final electoral rolls is underway in Nadra and their delivery to the relevant constituencies will be ensured by the start of the election programme.