ISLAMABAD: Nine constituencies of Karachi, one seat of Multan, one of Islamabad would see interesting contest on March 16 where PTI Chairman Imran Khan will be candidate for nine Karachi seats while second-in-command of the PTI, Shah Mahmood Qureshi will be fighting in Multan and PTI secretary general Asad Umar will be trying his luck on Islamabad berth again.
It has been made clear that the MQM-Pakistan would field its candidates on all nine seats of Karachi where a triangular contest is expected as Jamaat-e-Islami will also be in fray. The PPP would also decide about contesting for Karachi’s seats where it would have an adjustment with the MQM-P that is coalition partner in the federal government with the PPP. Highly placed political sources said that upcoming by-elections would turn up to be the litmus test for the so-called popularity of the PTI and its leader.
The by-elections announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on 33 National Assembly constituencies would be held on March 16 as 38 days campaign would be allowed for it after starting filing of nomination papers from February 6. Interestingly PDM President Maulana Fazal ur Rehman had hinted that the ruling alliance wouldn’t contest the by-polls. the sources told The News that a formal decision in this regard would be taken early next week. It has been indicated that PDM as party wouldn’t contest the polls but the parties wouldn’t be stopped from fighting which would be interested to contest. The PTI sources have confided that Imran has decided to contest from Karachi and final decision would be made about rest 23 seats by Sunday.
The decision comes hours after ECP released schedule for by-elections to 33 National Assembly (NA) seats vacated by PTI MNAs. The sources said that sharp division is found in the ranks of the PTI about contesting by Imran on all seats. they are of the view that it would look ridiculous if schedule for 123 seats is announced and Imran becomes candidate on all seats.
The local government’s elections in Karachi where the PTI was defeated squarely and the result in the polls have made mark difference on the political ambiance in Karachi. Some PTI stalwarts are asking for “careful dealing” with the upcoming situation as far Karachi is concerned. The constituencies, where by-polls will be held on March 16 include: NA-04 Swat-III, NA-53 Islamabad-II, NA-126 Lahore-IV, NA-247 Karachi South-II, NA-17 Haripur-I, NA-54 Islamabad-III, NA-130 Lahore-VIII, NA-250 Karachi West-III, NA-18 Swabi-I, NA-57 Rawalpindi-I, NA-155 Multan-I, NA-252 Karachi West-V, NA-25 Nowshera-I, NA-59 Rawalpindi-III, NA-156 Multan-III, NA-254 Karachi Central-II, NA-26 Nowshera-II, NA-60 Rawalpindi-IV, NA-191 Dera Ghazi Khan-III, NA-256 Karachi Central-IV, NA-32 Kohat, NA-62 Rawalpindi-VI, NA-241 Korangi Karachi-III, NA-265 Quetta-II, NA-38 D.I. Khan-I, NA-63 Rawalpindi-VII, NA-242 Karachi East-I, NA-43 Khyber-I, NA-67 Jhelum-II, NA-243 Karachi East-II, NA-52 Islamabad-I, NA-97 Bhakkar-I and NA-244 Karachi East-III.
These seats fell vacant after the PTI MNAs had tendered their resignations en-masse after the Imran Khan-led government was ousted via a no-confidence motion in April of last year. Their resignations were accepted by the National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf in parts and consequently the ECP de-notified them. The resignations of 123 PTI MNAs have so far been accepted and all have been de-notified by the ECP.
A total of 14 chairs had been vacant since 2008 and out of the 14
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