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Thursday June 20, 2024

Campaign for 20 NA, PA seats by-polls ends

By-elections will be conducted for five vacant seats of the NA, 12 of the Punjab Assembly, two each of the KP and Balochistan assemblies, and one of the Sindh legislatures

By Mumtaz Alvi
April 20, 2024
A shopkeeper arranges flags of political parties at his shop in Karachi on January 3, 2024. — AFP
A shopkeeper arranges flags of political parties at his shop in Karachi on January 3, 2024. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The campaign for by-elections in over 20 National and Provincial Assembly constituencies ended on Friday, as preparations are in place for the first major by-poll exercise on April 21, following the general elections 2024.

The campaigning was terminated at midnight between April 19 and 20 under the Elections Act, 2017. Through a statement, the Election Commission warned that those violating the law may face imprisonment of up to two years, which entails disqualification as well. Section 182 of the act reads, “No person shall convene, hold or attend any public meeting, or promote or join in any procession, within the area of a constituency…during forty-eight hours ending at midnight following the conclusion of the poll for any election in that constituency or province”.

The by-elections will be conducted for five vacant seats of the National Assembly, 12 of the Punjab Assembly, two each of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan assemblies, and one of the Sindh legislatures. Likewise, re-poll in all the constituencies of PB-50 (Killa Abdullah) will be held on April 21.

Irrespective of the upcoming electoral exercise, key elections of crucial constitutional posts have already been held, including that of the President, Prime Minister, Senate Chairman, NA Speaker, their deputies, as well as chief ministers, provincial speakers and deputy speakers.

The elections for NA-8, Bajaur, and PK-22, Bajaur were postponed because of the murder of independent candidate Rehan Zeb Khan. Similarly, NA-44, Dera Ismail Khan was left vacant by Ali Amin Gandapur, who had retained his provisional assembly seat to become Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

NA-119, Lahore was also vacated by Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, who took oath as MPA from PP-159 and got elected as the provincial chief executive afterward.

Shehbaz Sharif returned in the general elections from two NA and two provincial constituencies of Punjab. But he left NA-132, Kasur as well as Lahore’s PP-158 and 164 seats vacant, and retained NA-123, Lahore, to get elected as premier.

Moreover, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto won two NA seats but he retained NA-194 Larkana while leaving NA-196 Qamber Shahdadkot vacant. PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari left the seat of NA-207 Shaheed Benazirabad to be elected as the head of the state, from where his daughter Aseefa Bhutto Zardari has already been elected unopposed.

Whereas, the polls for KP Assembly PK-91 Kohat were put off following the death of an ANP leader. Likewise, the Sindh Assembly seat fell vacant following the death of Abdul Aziz Junejo, who won the elections from PS-80, Dadu. In Balochistan, BNP-M chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal retained NA-256 and left PB-20 Khuzdar vacant.

In Punjab, PML-N leader Ghulam Abbas retained NA-53, Rawalpindi, and left PP-22. Similarly, PML-Q’s Chaudhry Salik Hussain retained NA-64 and vacated PP-32 Gujrat. PP-36 Wazirabad fell vacant after Muhammad Ahmad Chattha did not take oath and retained NA-66, Wazirabad.

PP-54 Narowal fell vacant because of PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal did not take oath, as he preferred to retain NA-76 Narowal. PP-139 Sheikhupura fell vacant because of PML-N’s Rana Tanveer did not take oath, preferring NA-114, Sheikhupura. Likewise, PM Shehbaz Sharif’s son and ex-Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz did not take oath for PP-147, Lahore and opted for the NA-118, Lahore.

PP-149 Lahore fell vacant because of Istehkam e Pakistan Party’s Aleem Khan preferred not to take the oath. He retained the seat of NA-117 Lahore. Likewise, the polls for PP-266 Rahim Yar Khan were postponed because of the death of a candidate. PP-290 Dera Ghazi Khan was declared vacant as the son of former President late Farooq Leghari and PML-N leader Awais Leghari chose to retain NA-186, Dera Ghazi Khan. The polls for PP-266 Rahim Yar Khan were postponed because of the death of a candidate. Meanwhile, as per the Supreme Court of Pakistan order, the Election Commission has postponed re-polling at 12 polling stations of PB-51, Chaman until further orders.