General elections are not possible in Pakistan before October as "seven months are required to ensure a free, fair and transparent polls," the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said, reported ANI citing local media.
In its letter to Pakistan President Arif Alvi, the ECP said the elections were possible only in October this year.
The no-confidence motion against Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government was disallowed by the National Assembly Speaker on Sunday, 3 April, citing a security threat.
While the PM was not in attendance as the session began, after the dismissal, Khan addressed the citizens of Pakistan in a video and called for fresh elections and dissolution of the Assemblies.
Poll Preparations Will Take At Least Six Months: ECP Official
The preparations for the general elections will take at least six months as some constituencies especially those in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa witnessed fresh delimitation following 26th amendment, leading to a increase in the number of seats in that region. Besides, bringing constituency and district wise electoral rolls in conformity is also a challenge, Dawn quoted a senior official from ECP as saying.
"Delimitation is a time-consuming exercise where the law provides for one month's time just to invite objections," the official said adding that appointment and training of polling staff, arrangement of ballot papers and election material, were among the other major challenges.
As per the law, he said, they were required to use ballot paper with watermark. However, as it was not available in the country, it needs to be imported, the official said, adding the the ECP had proposed to amend the law to introduce other "security features" instead water mark. So the process of inviting bids, fixing technical and financial quotations will require some time.
In addition, at least two million stamp pads have to be readied for 100,000 polling stations, he said.
He further pointed out that there are legal hurdles to conducting early polls.
As per Section 14 of Elections Act, the Election Commission is required to announce the election plan at least four months in advance.
"In addition, we have already announced local elections at some places including Balochistan, Punjab, Sindh, and Islamabad. While elections are scheduled to be held in Balochistan on 29 May, at the other three places poll preparations are underway. We will have to cancel all these if general elections were to be held," the official said.
(With inputs from ANI, Dawn)