ISLAMABAD: The poll body, Wednesday, issued same schedules for general elections of Punjab Assembly— and by-elections for six seats of the National Assembly vacated by Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and former prime minister Imran Khan.

According to the schedules: Issuance of public notice by the returning officers: March 11;dates for filing of nomination papers with the ROs by the candidates: March 12-14;publication of names of the nominated candidates: March 15;last date for scrutiny of nomination papers by the ROs: March 22;last date for filing of appeals against decisions of the ROs: March 27; last date for deciding of appeals by the appellate tribunals: April 3;publication of the revised list of candidates: April 4; last date for withdrawal of candidature and publication of the revised list of candidates: April 5; allotment of election symbols to contesting candidates: April 6, and polling day: April 30.

Last Friday, President ArifAlvi announced April 30 as the date for general elections in Punjab— keeping in view that the ECP proposed the Punjab general polls date between April 30-May 7— in a letter written by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja to President Alvi.

Last month, the president announced April 9 as the date for holding general elections of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assemblies, in the exercise of his powers under Section 57(1) of the Elections Act 2017. Section 57(1) of the Elections Act 2017 provides that the president shall announce the date(s) of the general elections after consultation with the ECP.

Alvi invited the ECP for consultations but the commission refused to be part of a related meeting, taking the stance that the matter was sub judice.

The Supreme Court, in its suomotu notice over the matter, ruled that the president fix the date for Punjab general polls and governor KP fix the general polls for KP — both in consultation with the ECP.

While Punjab’s general elections date has been fixed, the governor KP, so far, has failed to fix any date for the province’s general elections. A related huddle between Governor KP Ghulam Ali and ECP officials in Peshawar on Wednesday remained inconclusive and another meeting is scheduled at ECP headquarters here next week.

Apart from that, the date for six NA by-elections was fixed by the ECP. In October last year, the PTI chief contested by-elections on eight NA seats and won seven of them; NA-22 Mardan, NA-24 Charsadda, NA-31 Peshawar, NA-108 Faisalabad, NA-118 Nankana Sahib, NA-239 Korangi, and NA-45 Kurram.

Barring Kurram seat that has been retained by Khan, the electoral body has issued by-poll schedule for the remaining six seats.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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