- ECP says by-polls to remain suspended until further orders from courts
In pursuant to orders issued by various courts, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Sunday cancelled by-elections on 37 National Assembly seats that were scheduled earlier on March 16 and 19, Aaj News reported.
In four separate notifications issued today, the ECP said its previous announcements for by-elections on 24 seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 3 in Islamabad, one in Balochistan, and 9 NA seats in Sindh, stood suspended until further orders from the courts.
The constituencies where by-elections have been put on cancelled include:
NA-241 Korangi Karachi-III, NA-242 Karachi East-I, NA-243 Karachi East-II, NA-244 Karachi East-III, NA-247 Karachi South-II, NA-250 Karachi West-III, NA-252 Karachi West-V, and NA-254 Karachi Central-II.
NA-4 Swat, NA-17 Haripur, NA-18 Swabi, NA 22 Mardan, NA 24 Charsadda, NA-25, NA-26 Nowshera, NA 31 Peshawar, NA-32 Kohat, NA-38 Dera Ismail Khan (DI Khan), and NA-43 Khyber.
Balochistan: NA-265 Quetta-II.
Islamabad: NA 52, 53, and 54.
These seats fell vacant as the ECP de-notified PTI lawmakers after Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf accepted their resignations. More than 120 MNAs belonging to the PTI tendered their resignations en masse after Imran Khan's government was ousted through a no-confidence motion in April last year.
However, PTI challenged the move in the provincial high courts, which made the ECP retract the de-notification order of MNAs belonging to the PTI.
On February 20, LHC Justice Shahid Karim issued an interim order on petitions filed by Shafqat Mahmood and others and suspended the process of by-elections in the petitioners’ constituencies.
On March 1, the Islamabad High Court suspended the de-notification of three PTI lawmakers — Asad Umar, Ali Nawaz Awan and Raja Khurram Shehzad — and sought a reply from the ECP and NA.
A day later, the Balochistan High Court also stopped the ECP from holding the by-election in NA-265, Quetta, along with suspending the ECP’s de-notification of PTI leader Qasim Suri.
On March 3, the Peshawar High Court suspended the notification for by-elections on 24 NA seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Earlier this week, the Sindh High Court restrained the ECP from holding by-elections on nine NA seats and suspended the commission’s notification in this regard till April 25.