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ISLAMABAD: By-elections drive on the 20 seats of Punjab Assembly, which fell vacant with the de-notification of dissident members’ provincial assembly from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), kicked off on Tuesday with the issuance of public notice by the electoral body regarding elections that are taking place on July 17.

In a related development, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is scheduled to take up tomorrow (Thursday) the case related to delay on its part in the notification of new Punjab Assembly MPAs on five seats reserved for women and non-Muslims.

Following the issuance of by-polls’ public notice, the candidates who intend to contest the by-elections can receive their nomination papers from ECP offices and the submission of nomination papers would continue from June 4-7, according to the poll body.

By-elections are being 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.

On Monday, ECP de-notified the legislative memberships of a total of 25 dissident MPAs.

In this context, three separate notifications issued by 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. However, the ECP, till date, has not notified the new PTI MPAs on the reserved seats who are eligible to fill in the vacant slots.

The former ruling party has moved Lahore High Court (LHC) against the delay by the ECP in the notification of new lawmakers on the vacant slots. The LHC has directed the electoral body to decide the matter by tomorrow (Thursday).

The PTI is of the view that its candidates need to be notified forthwith after the de-notification of five MPAs on reserved seats.

On the other hand, ruling party Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) has taken the plea that new MPAs on the five reserved seats should be notified on the basis of party position after July 17 by-elections.

An ECP bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja is scheduled to hear this case tomorrow.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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