ISLAMABAD: A ‘crucial’ by-election scheduled in National Assembly’s constituency NA-249 Karachi West II on April 29 would not be postponed as Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has directed the poll contestants to wind up their respective election campaigns within the stipulated time period ahead of the by-poll.
In a notification, the ECP has directed the candidates contesting the by-poll to wind up their respective electoral campaigns in accordance with Section 182 of Elections Act 182.
It reads, “Prohibition of public meetings during certain period—No person shall convene, hold or attend any public meeting, or promote or join in any procession, within the area of a constituency or, in the case of the Senate election, a Province, during a period of forty-eight hours ending at midnight following the conclusion of the poll for any election in that constituency or Province.”
The ECP has issued these fresh instructions for the candidates at a time when Sindh government and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have demanded postponement of the Karachi by-poll on account of alarming rise in coronavirus cases in the third peak of Covid-19.
However, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) have opposed the by-poll postponement while demanding of ECP to hold the by-poll as per schedule.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) earlier demanded of ECP to postpone the by-poll citing the likelihood of violence in the constituency before the ECP decided to deploy Rangers at polling stations in NA-249 from April 28 to April 30.
The said NA seat was vacated by PTI’s former federal water resources minister Faisal Vawda, in an apparent bid to avoid disqualification in dual-nationality cases pending in Islamabad High Court (IHC) and ECP. Vawda is accused of submitting a fake affidavit in ECP affirming that he relinquished his American nationality at the time of submitting his nomination papers for general elections in 2018.
Vawda was elected as a senator in March 3 elections, the same day when he vacated his NA seat.
Tough electoral contest is expected in NA-249 between PTI’s Amjad Afridi, PML-N’s Miftah Ismail, PSP’s Mustafa Kamal, PPP’s Abdul Qadir Mandokhel and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’s (TLP’s) Mufti Nazeer Kamalvi.
Although, federal government has banned TLP but ECP is yet to receive any official correspondence from federal government regarding banning TLP from the list of political parties registered with ECP. The ECP can ban or de-list any political party if ordered by the superior judiciary to do so, ECP sources told Business Recorder.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021