Pakistan general elections to be held by February 2024 at any cost, says ECP

Mohammad Bilal
Mohammad BilalAug 31, 2023 | 12:45

Pakistan general elections to be held by February 2024 at any cost, says ECP

Nawaz Sharif will be the PML-N face for the next general elections. Photo: AFP/Getty

The national general elections in Pakistan will take place by mid-February 2024 at any cost, says Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).  The election body made this assurance in a meeting with Awami National Party (ANP) on Wednesday (August 30), allaying their fears that the elections in the current political turmoil in Pakistan could be extended to an infinite period. 

The meeting was held to draw a roadmap for the next elections.



As per law, the elections have to be conducted within 90 days of the dissolution of the assembly. However, a delimitation exercise order which was signed by the Shehbaz Sharif government three days before the expiry of the term, prolonged the elections.

If that wouldn’t have been the case, elections were stipulated to be held in October 2023.

The election commission has also assured the ANP that the exercise of delimitation would be sped up now so that the elections can be held sooner, probably by the end of January, if the delimitation exercise was completed earlier. 

‘Delimitation should have been complete by December 20’

  • ECP told ANP in the meeting that under the announced delimitation schedule, the process should be completed in 120 days (by December 14).
  • The ECP’s assurance came after the ANP pressed for a date for general elections, even if conducting elections within 90 days of the dissolution of the assembly was not feasible.
  • The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had made a similar demand a few days ago.

ECP had assured the PPP of fast-tracking the redrawing of constituencies so that the general elections are held by mid-February at any cost.


Will Imran Khan be allowed to contest?

The biggest question is will the former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) be allowed to contest the polls.

Khan is languishing in the Attock Jail, faced with a three-year sentence in the Toshakhana case, which the ECP has lodged against him. He was convicted and sent to jail by the sessions court judge, Judge Humayun Dilawar.

Though the Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended Khan’s sentence on August 29, it is still not clear whether the PTI Chief has been absolved of all the charges against him.

As per law, after being found guilty of corrupt practices in the Toshakhana case, Khan would not be able to contest any election for the next five years. 

It remains to be seen whether he will be absolved of these charges to contest the election.

Elections, an Army affair

It is hidden from none that elections in Pakistan are controlled by the military of the country, which has had a hold on the politics of the country since the Independence of Pakistan.

Even former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was removed overnight in a coup pulled off by Chief Executive of Army late Pervez Musharraf in 1999. Musharraf stayed in power by force till 2007.


Even Imran Khan was said to have been removed from office after he brushed shoulders with General Qamar Javed Bajwa. 

Last updated: August 31, 2023 | 12:45
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