The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has moved up the deadline for final release of constituency delimitation from December 14 to November 30, with the aim of expediting the scheduling of general elections. The ECP spokesperson stated that the time needed for constituency delimitation had been shortened to expedite this crucial task. The ECP confirmed its intention to unveil the election schedule once the constituency delimitation process was completed. A day earlier, the Election Commission said that polls would be held by mid-February at the most or by January end if the delimitation of constituencies is completed earlier. The Election Commission has held consultations with political parties including Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Muttahida Qoumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Jamiat Ulema Islam-Faiz (JUI-F) and others regarding the road map to general elections. In those meetings, the JUI-F, PML-N and MQM-P had backed the ECP to hold general elections after the delimitation while the PTI and PPP had urged the electoral watchdog to drop the process and conduct polls within 90 days. On August 17, the ECP announced the schedule of new delimitations to be carried out as per the new census approved by the Council of Common Interest (CCI) last month. According to the schedule, the new delimitation of the constituencies was expected to be completed in December. However, the date has now been shortened to November. Earlier, the ECP schedule had shown that the fresh delimitation would take nearly four months. Last month, the CCI meeting chaired by then-prime minister Shehbaz Sharif approved the final results of the 7th Population and Housing Census 2023 reporting the country’s population at 241.49 million with a growth rate of 2.55%. The CCI approval made it constitutionally mandatory for the ECP to hold elections following fresh delimitations in the light of the results of the 7th census. According to Article 51 (5) of the Constitution, the seats of the National Assembly to each province and the federal capital shall be allocated on the basis of population in accordance with the last preceding census officially published. The previous Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government dissolved the national and provincial assemblies of Sindh and Balochistan prematurely to allow the ECP to hold elections in the country within 90 days instead of 60 days if the legislature completed its constitutional tenure.