The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday set aside the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) delimitation of six more constituencies, taking the number of overturned decisions to 10 in the last two days alone.
Justice Amir Farooq, who heard several petitions challenging the ECP’s decisions on Wednesday, set aside the delimitation of Kharan, Ghotki, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Bahawalpur and Haripur and remanded the cases back to the ECP.
On the other hand, the court also upheld the ECP’s decision and dismissed petitions filed against the delimitation of Khanewal, Chiniot, Kurram Agency, Rajanpur, Mansehra, Swabi, Jacobabad, Gujranwala, Umerkot, Rahim Yar Khan, Sialkot, Bannu and Chakwal.
A day earlier, the IHC had set aside the delimitation of constituencies in four districts: Jehlum, Jhang, Toba Tek Singh and Lower Dir.
The ECP’s hearings over the contested constituencies will likely begin next week once the IHC transfers certified case files to it.
The high court will take up 31 more petitions against the delimitation of constituencies on Thursday (tomorrow).
The fresh delimitation of constituencies of assemblies must take place after every census — as per The Delimitation of Constituencies Act, 1974 — and it is usually a hotly contested exercise.
Since the most recent delimitation exercise, a total of 108 petitions concerning the mapping of different constituencies have been filed in the IHC.
The challenges have been put forward by representatives of the PML-N, the PPP, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and others.
The petitioners have objected to the delimitation arguing that the constituencies have seemingly been redrawn on political grounds.
They have argued that each stakeholders objectives and stance is necessary to take into account before a constituency can be demarcated by the ECP.
Justice Farooq has told the ECP that the same rules for the proportion of population must be applied in the delimitation of each constituency.
The ECP has to follow a set formula for the number of provincial and National Assembly seats that are allotted to a district. However, the final mapping within the districts remains vague and open to controversy.