Days after the approval of the resignations of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members of the National Assembly, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday announced that by-elections for 33 vacant seats will be held on March 16.
It should be noted that the election body is holding by-polls for 33 seats that fell vacant after National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf accepted the resignations of 35 members (including two for reserved seats for women) of the lower house of parliament on January 17.
The PTI had resigned en masse from the lower house of parliament following the ouster of PTI chief Imran Khan in April last year. Subsequently, the NA speaker accepted only 11 of the resignations, stating that the remaining lawmakers would be summoned individually for verification.
“In pursuance of Section 57 of the Elections Act, 2017 (Act No. XXXIII of 2017), read with Section 102 and clause (4) of Article 224 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Election Commission hereby calls upon the electors of the undermentioned constituencies of the National Assembly of Pakistan, which have become vacant due to resignations and specifies in relation thereto the following dates for by-elections,” the notification issued by the ECP read.
|1.||NA-04 Swat-III||10.||NA-53 Islamabad-II||19.||NA-126 Lahore-IV||28.||NA-247 Karachi South-II|
|2.||NA-17 Haripur-I||11.||NA-54 Islamabad-III||20.||NA-130 Lahore-VIII||29.||NA-250 Karachi West-III|
|3.||NA-18 Swabi-I||12.||NA-57 Rawalpindi-I||21.||NA-155 Multan-I||30.||NA-252 Karachi West-V|
|4.||NA-25 Nowshera-I||13.||NA-59 Rawalpindi-III||22.||NA-156 Multan-III||31.||NA-254 Karachi Central-II|
|5.||NA-26 Nowshera-II||14.||NA-60 Rawalpindi-IV||23.||NA-191 Dera Ghazi Khan-III||32.||NA-256 Karachi Central-IV|
|6.||NA-32 Kohat||15.||NA-62 Rawalpindi-VI||24.||NA-241 Korangi Karachi-III||33.||NA-265 Quetta-II|
|7.||NA-38 D.I. Khan-I||16.||NA-63 Rawalpindi-VII||25.||NA-242 Karachi East-I|
|8.||NA-43 Khyber-I||17.||NA-67 Jhelum-II||26.||NA-243 Karachi East-II|
|9.||NA-52 Islamabad-I||18.||NA-97 Bhakkar-I||27.||NA-244 Karachi East-III|
As per the ECP announcement, candidates will be able to file their nomination papers between February 6-8.
The names of the candidates will be published on February 9 and the returning officers (RO) will carry out the scrutiny of the nomination papers till February 13.
The last date to file appeals against the RO’s decision on the acceptance or rejection of nomination papers is February 16.
According to the election schedule, the last date for the appellate tribunal to decide on the appeals is February 20. After this, the revised list of candidates will be published on February 21.
The last date to withdraw candidature and release of revised list of candidates is February 22 while the election symbols will be allotted on February 23 and the polls will be held on March 16.
The PTI lawmakers had tendered their resignations en masse after the Imran Khan-led government was ousted via a no-confidence motion in April of last year.
The PTI had claimed resignations were accepted by former deputy speaker Qasim Suri in absence of the speaker after Asad Qaiser's resignation.
However, NA speaker, after approving 11 resignations of PTI lawmakers in July 2022, had stalled the process stating the remaining lawmakers would be summoned individually for verification.
However, contrary to his stance, he quickened the process once PTI, earlier this month, announced its return to the assembly and "test" PM Shehbaz through a confidence vote.
So far, the resignations of 123 PTI MNAs have been accepted and all have been denotified.
The PTI resignations were accepted by NA speaker Ashraf in four stages. Initially, only 11 resignations were accepted, while 34 resignations were accepted on January 17, another 35 on January 20 and now 43 have been approved.
On January 17, the speaker also accepted the resignation of Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid. This meant that 35 resignations were accepted.
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