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Monday, May 20, 2024  
11 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

CCI meeting approves Census 2023 increasing likelihood of election delay

PM Shehbaz had said elections would be held based on the latest census
Officials from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics collect information from a resident as Pakistani soldiers stand guard during the second phase of the national census in Islamabad, Pakistan, April 25, 2017 - AFP
Officials from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics collect information from a resident as Pakistani soldiers stand guard during the second phase of the national census in Islamabad, Pakistan, April 25, 2017 - AFP

The meeting of the Council of Common Interests approved the first-ever digital Population and Housing Census 2023 on Saturday.

Earlier, the sources have said the elections could be delayed by around four months in case the CCI approves the results of the latest census.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif presided over the CCI meeting in Islamabad.

Chief ministers of Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa participated in the meeting, which was convened by PM Shehbaz after the Ministry of Planning and Development moved a summary for convening the CCI meeting to grant approval of the census results.

Balochistan’s Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo arrived at the meeting during a break and all four CMs were taken into confidence regarding the results of the census.

Earlier, sources told Aaj News that PM Shehbaz Sharif has been given the authority to pick a candidate for the key position in the caretaker setup.

The decision was taken a day earlier in a meeting of the ruling alliance on the caretaker prime minister. PM Shehbaz, who presided over the meeting, would nominate the person for the interim PM whom he deems worthy, sources added.

On one hand, the approval of the latest census is likely to result in a delay in the national polls, on the other sources claimed that the allied parties had agreed that the elections should be held on time.

It is pertinent to mention that the premier decided that a summary for the dissolution of the National Assembly would be “moved on August 9”. The date was put forward in a reception given to members of Parliament where he was asked about the assembly’s dissolution.

On August 1, the prime minister told Aaj News that elections would be held based on the latest census which raised allies’ concerns who have been demanding timely elections.

“We have to hold the elections on the basis of the new census … When a census has been conducted, the [polls] should be held on its basis unless there is an obstacle that cannot be overcome. But I don’t see [any such hurdle],” he told Asma Shirazi during his appearance on Faisla Aap Ka.

The premier said the census results would be referred to the CCI as soon as they were finalised.

However, Power Minister Khurram Dastgir was hopeful that the elections would be held in November.

“As of now, July 24, hopefully, it is fully hoped that may God help us. Elections will be held on November 10 or before it, inshallah in the whole country and all four provinces,” Khurram Dastgir told Aaj News on July 24.

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