ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday issued schedule for by-elections, being held on July 17, on 20 provincial seats of Punjab Assembly that fell vacant due to the de-notification of the legislative memberships of the dissident MPAs from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) by the electoral body for voting against the party’s policy in the election of chief minister Punjab last month.
By-elections would be held on four PA seats of Lahore, two seats each of Jhang, Lodhran, Muzaffargarh, and one seat each of Rawalpindi, Khushab, Bhakkar, Faisalabad, Sheikhupura, Sahiwal, Multan, Bahawalnagar, Layyah and Dera Ghazi Khan, according to the ECP.
According to the polls schedule, public notice would be issued regarding by-polls on May 31, filing of nominations: June 4-7, publication of names of nominated candidates: June 8, scrutiny of nominations: June 11, filing of appeals against acceptance/rejection of nominations: June 15, deciding of appeals by the appellate tribunal: June 21, revised list of candidates: June 22, last date for withdrawal of candidature and publication of final list of candidates: June 23, allotment of election symbols to candidates: June 24 and polling day on July 17.
On Monday, the ECP de-notified the legislative memberships of a total of 25 dissident Members Provincial Assembly (MPAs).
In this context, three separate notifications issued by the ECP, de-notified 20 MPAs who were elected on general seats, three MPAs elected on reserved seats for women and two MPAs elected on reserved seats for non-Muslims.
The 25 de-notified legislators are: Raja Sagheer Ahmed, Malik Ghulam Rasool Sangha, Saeed Akbar Khan, Muhammad Ajmal, Faisal Hayat, Mehar Aslam, Mian Khalid Mehmood, Aleem Khan, Nazir Chohan, Malik Asad, Amin Zulqarnain, Malik Nauman Langrial, Muhammad Salman, Zawar Hussain Warraich, Nazir Ahmad Khan, Fida Hussain, Zahra Batool, Sibtain Raza, Muhammad Tahir, Mohsin Atta Khosa, Uzma Kardar, Aisha Nawaz, Sajida Yousaf, Ijaz Masih and Haroon Imran Gill. The reserved seats, in accordance with Article 224 (6), are filled on the basis of priority lists provided to ECP by the respective political parties.
This article states that when a seat reserved for women or non-Muslims in the National Assembly or a PA falls vacant, on account of death, resignation or disqualification of a member, it shall be filled by the next person in order of precedence from the party list of the candidates to be submitted to the ECP by the political party whose member has vacated such seat.
By-elections are required to be held within 60 days on any general seat from its falling vacant. Article 224 (4) provides that when, except by dissolution of NA or a PA, a general seat in any such assembly has become vacant not later than 120 days before the term of that assembly is due to expire, an election to fill the seat shall be held within 60 from the occurrence of the vacancy.
Article 63-A deals with the defection of those lawmakers who vote against their party’s direction in the election of prime minister/CM, vote of confidence/vote of no-confidence, and money bill.
The ECP, under Article 63-A, is bound to decide the defection case(s) within 30 days of the receipt of related case(s).
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022