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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday upheld its decision to hold by-elections on October 16, 2022, on a petition of the federal government for postponement of by-elections for 90 days because of its focus on the humanitarian assistance and restoration of flood-hit areas.

The decision to hold by-elections as per schedule was taken at a meeting headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and participated by the defence secretary.

The committee decided that the by-elections will be held as per schedule on October 16 and postponed the election in Kurram’s NA-45 due to the law and order situation.

Local body elections in all districts of Karachi Division will also be held as per the schedule on October 23, 2022.

The commission held the consultative meeting on the security situation on the request of the Ministry of Interior to postpone the by-elections for 90 days on Friday.

The ministry requested to postpone the by-polls on 12 constituencies of national and Punjab assemblies scheduled for October 16 as well as local body elections in Karachi.

On Friday, in a letter to the ECP, however, Interior Ministry Rana Sanaullah requested that the party (PTI) could besiege Islamabad between October 12-17, and the date coincides with October 16, on which, the by-elections are scheduled to be held.

He also argued in the letter that dealing with the march requires the maximum deployment of all available law enforcement troops to maintain peace in the capital city.

The letter also cited the losses incurred and the rise in diseases following the recent catastrophic floods as the reason for the postponement of by-polls.

The ministry mentioned that most resources have been diverted toward relief and rehabilitation efforts across flood-hit areas in the country; therefore, it would put immense strain on government agencies, including the Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps, Rangers, and other LEAs to utilise its resources and carry the extra work during election duties.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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