Pakistan’s parliament has been legally dissolved, although elections scheduled for 90 days from now are likely to be postponed.
According to the electoral commission, electoral boundaries must be modified to reflect new census data, a process that will take months.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan was arrested, imprisoned, and prohibited from politics for five years last week.
He had publicly questioned the powerful military establishment, claiming that it was “petrified” of elections.
With President Arif Alvi’s order on Wednesday to dissolve the National Assembly, a caretaker government will take charge. Outgoing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his government have been given three days to name an interim leader.
A Election Commission of Pakistan official told the BBC: “The elections will be held once the census is done, which will take about four months’ time. As a result, the elections may be delayed till next year.”
In May, Mr Khan’s arrest on corruption charges sparked nationwide protests that saw at least eight deaths and some 1,400 arrests, amid unprecedented attacks on military property and buildings.
The 70-year old, who is appealing his conviction on graft charges, has claimed that the military’s goal was to “eventually put me into prison and to crush my party.”