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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Sunday put off by-polls until further orders on 37 National Assembly seats in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Islamabad, which were earlier notified as vacant by the ECP in the wake of resignations by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers.

The by-polls on these seats were scheduled for March 16 and 19. However, the decision to put off the by-polls was announced through separate notifications for all three provinces and the federal capital in light of the decisions by various courts due to which the ECP had suspended its earlier notifications with regard to the status of the NA seats from where the PTI members had tendered resignations.

The ECP was all-set to hold by-elections on over 60 NA seats across the country this month following Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf accepted resignations of the PTI members. More than 120 MNAs belonging to the PTI had tendered en masse resignations after Imran Khan’s government was ousted through a no-confidence motion in April last year.

Speaker accepts resignations of 35 PTI MNAs

“Pursuant to the Order dated 7th March, 2023 passed by the Hon’ble High Court of Sindh at Karachi in Constitution Petition No. D-1150 of 2023 titled “Faheem Khan & Others Vs Speaker National Assembly & Others”, the Election Commission of Pakistan hereby suspends its Notification No.8(2)/2023-Cord dated 17th January, 2023 including Notification of Election Programme No.F.8(2)/2023-Cord(1) dated 27th January, 2023 to the extent of the following constituencies till further orders of Hon’ble High Court of Sindh at Karachi in the said Petition,” the ECP said with regard to the by-polls on nine seats from Sindh, Karachi.

With regard to 24 NA seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the ECP states: “Pursuant to the orders dated 3rd March 2023 passed by the Peshawar High Court (PHC), in the writ petition, No.762-P/2023 tided Sher Ali Arbab and others Vs Speaker National Assembly and others and Writ Petition No.763-P/2023 titled Imran Khattak and others Vs Speaker National Assembly and others respectively. The ECP hereby suspends its notifications of election programme No. F.8(2)/2023-Cord(1) dated 27th January 2023 and F.8(2)/2023-Cord(1) dated 3rd February 2023 to the extent of the following constituencies till further orders of the PHC, in the said writ petitions.”

About the by-polls on three NA seats from the federal capital, the ECP notification says: “Pursuant to the Order dated 1st March, 2023 passed by the Islamabad High Court, Islamabad in Writ Petition No.726 of 2023 titled Raja Khurram Shahzad Nawaz, etc Vs National Assembly through Speaker National Assembly, Islamabad, etc, the Election Commission of Pakistan hereby suspends its Notification No.F.8 (2)/2023-Cord, dated 17th January, 2023, including Notification No. F.8(2)/2023-Cord(1) dated 27th January, 2023 of Election Programme to the extent of following constituencies till further orders of the Hon’ble Islamabad High Court, Islamabad in the said Writ Petition.”

About the two NA seats from Balochistan, the ECP notification states: “Pursuant to the Orders dated 1st March, 2023 passed by the Hon’ble Balochistan High Court, Quetta in Constitution Petition No.190/2023 titled Muhammad Qasim Khan, Munawara Bibi Baloch etc Vs Speaker National Assembly and others.

The Election Commission of Pakistan hereby suspends its Notifications No.F.8 (2)/2023-Cord, dated 17th January, 2023 and Notification No.F.8 (3)/2023-Cord dated 20th January, 2023, including Notification No. F.8 (2)/2023-Cord (1) dated 27th January, 2023 of the Election Programme to the extent of Constituency No. NA-265 Quetta-II and Seat Reserved for Women in the National Assembly from Balochistan Province till further orders of Hon’ble Balochistan High Court, Quetta in the said Petition.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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