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ECP refutes false reports on Hafizabad delimitation decision date

ECP refutes false reports on Hafizabad delimitation decision date

ISLAMABAD, Dec 20 (DNA): The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday dismissed media misinformation about Hafizabad constituency delimitation, stating the official decision by a two-member bench was declared on November 26 and promptly posted on the ECP’s website for public awareness.

An ECP spokesperson explained that a subsequent order regarding the delimitation of Hafizabad district was issued on December 8, following the intervention of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

The guidelines for constituencies are explicitly outlined in the Election Act of 2017 and its corresponding Rules, as explained below.

According to Election Rules 8(1), the population of the province is divided among the seats designated for the province under Article 106, Section 51 of the Constitution, after which the quota for each seat is established.

In the second phase, the quota calculated under Rules 8 (2) to determine district seats is divided by the district’s population, establishing the number of seats for that district. If the remaining population after seat allocation is less than 0.5, the district is ignored.

However, if the remaining population is 0.50 or more, the district is granted one seat. For instance, if a district’s seat share is 4.49 based on its population, it is allocated 4 seats. On the other hand, if its seat share is 4.52, the district is allotted 5 seats.

Provided that no other district has a higher fraction, for instance, 4.56, it is essential to clarify that the allocation of seats begins with the district having the highest fraction, such as 4.80, 4.75, 4.70, 4.70, 4.66, and so on, until the last seat. This process ensures that if there is an available seat in the province, a district may secure a seat at 4.50.

However, once seats are filled, the focus shifts to fractions, and those with 4.51 or more are ignored. The procedure for determining votes is outlined in Section 18 of the Elections Act, 2017, and Section 18 of the Elections Rules, which cannot be altered by the Election Commission.

The entire Commission, comprising the Chief Election Commissioner and four members, is responsible for this task.

However, due to the numerous objections to the initial constituencies, the Election Commission addresses them through two or three-member benches.

The Commission emphasizes that the population of Hafizabad District is 1,319,909, with a quota for one National Assembly seat set at 905,595 (1.46) under Rules 8(2), warranting the allocation of one seat due to the remaining population being less than 0.5 percent. Similarly, for Gujranwala with a population of 4,966,338, its seat share is 5.48, and since its fraction is less than 0.5, it is allotted 5 seats.

The Election Commission underscores that, according to the law, it is not obligated to merge any district with another.

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