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IHC sets aside delimitation of Lower Dir

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday set aside the delimitation of constituencies in Lower Dir and three districts in Punjab and remanded their cases back to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The three districts were Jhelum, Jhang and Toba Tek Singh.
At the same time, Justice Aamer Farooq disposed of petitions challenging the delimitation of the federal capital after ECP representatives assured the court that the anomalies are already being rectified.

The IHC also reserved its decision on the constituencies of Bahawalpur, Rahimyar Khan, Chakwal, Batgram and Haripur.
Justice Aamir Farooq has ruled that the rules that have been followed in the delimitation of other constituencies should be kept in view while delimiting constituencies in the districts in question as well.

The court has subsequently remanded the decided cases to the ECP with a direction to the chief election commissioner (CEC) to decide on the matter after hearing all stakeholders, as is the law.
The IHC will now take up another 37 petitions related to 20 other constituencies on Wednesday.

According to the Delimitation of Constituencies Act, 1974, the constituencies for elections to the National and Provincial Assemblies have to be redrawn after every census.

After the delimitation of constituencies following last year’s census, 108 petitions against the delimitation of different constituencies have been filed in the IHC alone.

The petitioners, affiliated with the PML-N, the PPP, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and others, have objected to the delimitation carried out by the ECP and argued that the constituencies seem to have been constituted on political grounds.

The objectives and stance of all stakeholders need to be taken into consideration when delimiting a constituency, the petitioners have asked.

While arguing that standard procedures have not been followed, the petitioners have requested that the court set aside the current delimitation so that ECP decides the matter afresh.
According to the procedure, the ECP follows a set formula for the number of provincial and National Assembly seats each district is allotted.

However, the final mapping within the districts remains largely opaque and open to controversy.–

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