Census Conundrum: Questions Loom Over Timely Elections in Pakistan

Census Conundrum: Questions Loom Over Timely Elections in Pakistan


This analysis explores the recent declaration by the prime minister (PM) regarding the conduction of general elections based on the recently concluded digital census of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This so called announcement has sparked uncertainty and raised significant questions about the feasibility of holding timely polls. However, the government ministers had consistently advocated using the 2017 head count for elections, this definitive statement has introduced complexity into the electoral process. This article highlights the procedural challenges involved in officially notifying the census results; moreover, implementing constitutional amendments, and conducting delimitation processes; if, the government proceeds with the new census data.

In addition to that, the impending end of the National Assembly’s tenure adds to the complexity, and concerns about potential constitutional maneuvering and political dynamics further complicate matters. Upholding the sanctity of the constitution and democratic principles becomes paramount to ensure a transparent and inclusive electoral process. The responsibility rests on major political players like the PML Nawaz to foster consensus and establish a well-defined time frame for the upcoming elections, prioritizing the collective welfare of the nation.

Uncertainty and Procedural Challenges in Elections based on New Census Data”

The recent declaration by the PM regarding the conduction of general elections 2023 based on the recently concluded digital census 2023 has created waves of uncertainty. Therefor, in the political landscape, giving rise to a series of significant questions. The most pressing concern revolves around the feasibility of holding the polls within the stipulated time frame. Despite this, government ministers had consistently asserted that the elections would be conducted based on the 2017 head count. However, the prime minister’s categorical statement on a local TV channel has introduced complexity and ambiguity into the electoral process of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Should the government proceed with elections based on the new census data, several procedural challenges must be addressed. Firstly, the results of the recent head count need to be officially notified. Additionally, a constitutional amendment would be essential to incorporate the updated population figures, followed by the necessary delimitation process to be carried out by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Achieving these crucial steps would require prompt action and seamless coordination to adhere to the constitutionally mandated period for conducting elections.

Challenges and Concerns with Expiring National Assembly Tenure and Potential Constitutional Maneuvering in Election Process

Moreover, the expiring tenure of the National Assembly further complicates the situation; and leaving limited time for legislative procedures. The insufficient numbers in the NA to pass an amendment authorizing new delimitation present a formidable obstacle in ensuring the timely organization of elections based on the 2023 census data.

The current situation raises legitimate concerns about the potential use of constitutional maneuvering by the government, akin to what was observed during the appointment of caretaker setups in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. There are apprehensions that the central caretaker administration might seek to extend its tenure beyond the legally mandated 90 days, leading to a further escalation of the legal and constitutional crisis.

Adding to the complexity of the situation are the political dynamics at play. Opposition parties, including the Muthida Quomi Movement and Pakistan Peoples Party, have voiced reservations about the credibility of the latest census results. This lack of consensus on the issue could create an opening for political engineering, especially if the caretaker administration calls a meeting of the Council of Common Interests to approve the 2023 census.

While conducting elections based on the most recent census data is desirable, it is of utmost importance to uphold the sanctity of the constitution and the democratic process. It is imperative that the polls are not delayed beyond the constitutionally mandated period allotted to the caretaker government for organizing them. The PML-N, being a prominent political player, holds a responsibility to dispel any confusion and work towards forging a consensus around holding the elections based on the 2017 figures. A transparent and well-defined time frame for the general elections is crucial to preserve the integrity of the democratic process and uphold the principles of the rule of law.

Challenges and Risks in Addressing Census Controversy: Upholding Constitutional Integrity in Electoral Process

Parties like the MQM and PPP express reservations about census credibility, creating a significant obstacle for the government. Achieving consensus during the Council of Common Interests meeting seems highly improbable. The situation may lead to political engineering if the caretaker government calls for a CCI meeting to approve the 2023 census.

Upholding the constitution and democratic principles is paramount, making elections based on recent census data desirable. The polls must not be unduly delayed beyond the constitutionally mandated period allotted to the caretaker government. Exploiting the census controversy to prolong the electoral process indefinitely is unacceptable.

PML-N’s Role in Building Consensus and Ensuring Transparency in Electoral Process”

The PML-N, as a significant political party, must overcome these challenges and address the prevailing confusion surrounding the census results. Proactively engaging in constructive dialogue with other political stakeholders, the party must establish a consensus on conducting elections based on the 2017 figures. Such collaboration will pave the way for a clear and defined time frame for the general elections, providing the much-needed stability and direction to the nation’s electoral process.

All political parties must prioritize the country’s collective welfare and transcend partisan interests. Guided by transparency and strict adherence to the rule of law, the government must diligently address stakeholders’ concerns and foster an inclusive electoral environment. This approach is crucial to ensure a fair and manipulation-free electoral process, fully respecting the constitutional framework that underpins the nation’s democracy. Upholding these fundamental principles will propel Pakistan forward in its democratic aspirations and reinforce the democratic institutions that form the backbone of the nation’s governance.


In conclusion, the recent announcement of conducting elections based on the new census has introduced uncertainty and raised critical questions. The feasibility of holding timely polls remains uncertain, given the prior emphasis on the 2017 head count. Overcoming procedural challenges, including notifying census results and implementing necessary amendments, is essential if the government proceeds with the new census data. Moreover, the situation is further complicated by the approaching expiration of the National Assembly tenure and concerns about constitutional maneuvering. To uphold the sanctity and transparency of the constitution, it is imperative for major parties like the PML-N to unite and establish a clear election time-frame, with the nation’s welfare as the top priority. All political parties must prioritize democracy, rise above their own interest and ensure a fair environment for election, there by strengthening Pakistan’s democratic aspirations and governance.

Politics, Distrust, and the Lingering Presence of the Finance Minister: A Closer Look at the Government’s Transition

Politics, Distrust, and the Lingering Presence of the Finance Minister: A Closer Look at the Government's Transition

Introduction :

The Pakistan’s government nears the end of its tenure, the political landscape is in rife with speculation and intrigue surrounding the potential retention of Mr. Ishaq Dar. Although some allied parties reject the idea, Mr. Dar’s name continues to reverberate among the influential circles. The mounting momentum to appoint a politician to a significant role; with an emphasis on loyalty and political experience also raises pertinent questions about trust and mistrust within the establishment and PDM. As the threat from the PTI seemingly wanes, internal divisions within political parties become more prominent. This article delves into the intricacies of the unfolding political drama; investigating controversies and divisions within parties and analyzing the implications of entrusting a politician to a position aimed at deterring political influence.

Dar’s Potential Retention Amid Speculation

As the current government’s tenure approaches its conclusion, there are indications that Ishaq Dar might be retained despite the transition. Speculation about the potential caretaker prime minister has led to multiple mentions of Dar’s name. Although some allied parties, including the PML-N, deny this possibility, it seems that not everyone believes his name has been entirely dropped. Internal party members who hold influence appear to be supporting him, although the stance of other influential figures remains uncertain. His continued insistence on being ready and willing to accept important responsibilities suggests he enjoys substantial backing from within his party.

In addition to that, the growing momentum behind the idea of appointing a politician to a prominent position is evident, with increasing views; though some may be mere gossip, indicating that shortlisted candidates predominantly consist of politicians. Interestingly, the unspoken requirement of loyalty seems to be just as essential as political experience. This fervent quest for a loyal politician raises questions about potential distrust between the establishment and the ruling parties. The sudden interest in placing a politician in a role designed to keep politics at bay is intriguing and warrants further examination.

A sense of distrust permeates the political atmosphere as the parties believe that the threat from the PTI has diminished, causing their internal differences to become more pronounced. The initial plans to secure victory for the PPP in the upcoming election and anoint Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari as prime minister appear to have lost momentum. The limited influx of leaders into the party raises concerns, possibly causing internal apprehension within the party.

KP Dissatisfaction: Alliance Divisions and Governor’s Actions

In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the dissatisfaction among allies has become second only to the prevailing security threat. A storm of criticism has emerged against the dominance of the caretaker set-up by JUI-F and the actions of the governor. Who not only holds a senior position within the party but is also a relative of the maulana. Interestingly, this criticism surfaced rapidly after months of the government being in power, as if the previous leniency was now unacceptable with elections approaching. The underlying priorities responsible for this shift are challenging to discern. Nonetheless, it appears that the issue extends beyond a mere passing concern, as it has gained momentum on talk shows and remains a topic of discussion.

The criticism of the governor has also exposed divisions within the PDM alliance. The PPP and ANP have expressed their disapproval of JUI-F’s actions, while the PML-N has appeared more distant. This disparity may stem from the PML-N’s relatively limited presence in KP and a preference to maintain the maulana’s contentment rather than confront corruption and misgovernance in a province that is not Punjab. As a result, clear lines have been drawn in KP, with the ANP and PPP on one side and the JUI-F and PML-N on the other.

PML-N’s Unease: Speculations and Surging Activity

Within the PML-N, there is an underlying sense of unease or even mistrust. Despite repeatedly asserting that Nawaz Sharif will be the next prime minister, the current prime minister has embarked on an extensive media campaign. He is now attending numerous events, giving speeches, and granting interviews, a departure from his previous approach. This flurry of activity hints at a potential election campaign or a bid for the prime ministerial position. The circulating rumors of ‘dulhan wohi jo piya man bhaaye’ (a bride is one fancied by the groom) only add to the speculation, leaving questions about how the party and the elder brother perceive this surge in activity.

Amidst such speculations, it becomes easier to comprehend the rumors surrounding Mr. Dar’s and his stay at Prime Minister House. His name seems to imply distrust within a section of the PML-N leadership and other power holders. Some of the political leadership, possibly extending beyond the party itself, appear to be concerned about the intentions of these power holders. As the PTI’s influence dwindling, the need to manage an unwieldy coalition is diminished, leading to the question of why not simply appoint a caretaker, as done in Punjab and KP? This notion raises the query of potential objections from any quarters.

Precedent: Unelected Governments and Constitutional Priorities

A precedent has been established, indicating not only delays in holding elections but also the operation of provinces under the un-elected Govt. This shift has been achieved by prioritizing constitutional requirements other than the mandate to hold elections within three months. For instance, during the dissolution of two provincial assemblies, it was argued that the Constitution necessitated caretaker governments in all provinces during elections, both national and provincial. If elections in Punjab and KP were conducted earlier, it would have resulted in these provinces holding National Assembly (NA) elections without caretaker governments. Such a scenario was deemed impractical, with caretakers being considered more crucial than adhering strictly to the three-month election time frame following dissolution.

Furthermore, the issue of conducting a census now appears to hold greater significance than the previously emphasized three-month limit. The courts’ involvement seems to have diminished, given that the Election Commission holds the authority to determine the election date. It is possible that some individuals believed a loyal politician could prevent delays in this context, as neutral caretakers may not possess the same sense of urgency.

Another reason attributed to Mr. Dar’s candidacy seems to have originated from himself. The argument put was that disinterested and neutral individuals would lack the ability to make the right decisions to maintain economic stability, which only politicians could accomplish. Thus, the notion of “the Dar Man” emerged. However, it is worth noting that, besides political parties, the prevailing belief remains that technocrats are the most suitable candidates to manage the economy. If a technocrat becomes visible once the caretaker’s selection is made, it would be apparent that Raja Riaz’s influence prevailed over the PML-N’s choice. A talk show analyst pointed that, underscoring Raja Riaz’s crucial role in the final decision, and her seriousness on the matter was evident.