ECP all set to conduct by-polls in 21 constituencies tomorrow

The Election Commission of Pakistan has finalised arrangements to hold by-elections in 21 constituencies of national and provincial assemblies.

The polling will be held from 8 am till 5 pm without any break. The returning officers will hand over election material to presiding officers from their camp offices today. Strict security arrangements have been made for by-elections.

Meanwhile, mobile and internet service will remain closed in 13 cities of Punjab during the by-elections. Punjab Home Department has written a letter to Federal Ministry of Interior.

According to the post, mobile and internet services will remain closed in Lahore, Sheikhupura, Kasur, DG Khan, Tala Gang, Gujrat, Alipur, Zafarwal, Bhakkar, Chakwal, Sadiqabad, Alipur Chattha and Kot Chattha. 

The polling will be held for five national and 16 provincial assembly seats on April 21 (Sunday). Elections were originally scheduled for 23 constituencies.

However, the results of two of those seats, one provincial and one national, have already been announced.

Aseefa Bhutto Zardari was elected unopposed from NA-207 Shaheed Benazirabad, while Zubair Ahmad Junejo has been elected from PS-80 Dadu.

The National Assembly seats on which by-polls will take place include NA-8 Bajaur, NA-44 Dera Ismail Khan-I, NA-119 Lahore-III, NA-132 Kasur-II, NA-196 Kamber Shadadkot-I and NA-207 Shaheed Benazirabad-I.

The elections on NA-8 Bajaur and PK-22 Bajaur-IV were suspended after a candidate contesting as independent on these constituencies was shot dead.

Meanwhile, NA-44 seat fell vacant after newly-elected KP Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur opted to retain his provincial seat from DI Khan.

The NA-119 Lahore-III seat was vacated by Maryam after she opted to retain the provincial seat which she had won, while NA-132 Kasur seat fell vacant after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif decided to retain his NA-123 Lahore-VII seat.

PM Shehbaz had also won on Punjab Assembly seats — PP-158 and PP-164 — but since he opted his NA seat, the provincial assembly seats fell vacant.

Moreover, the NA seats from Sindh's constituencies, NA-196 Kamber Shadadkot-I and NA-207 Shaheed Benazirabad-I, were vacated after Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto retained the seat he won in Larkana, while President Asif Ali Zardari gave up his seat following his election as the head of state.

The other provincial assembly seats on which by-polls will be held include Punjab's PP-22 Chakwal-Cum-Talagang, PP-32 Gujrat-VI, PP-36 Wazirabad-II, PP-54 Narowal-|, PP-93 Bhakkar-V, PP-139 Sheikhupura-IV, PP-147 Lahore-III, PP-149 Lahore-V, PP-158 Lahore-XIV, PP-164 Lahore-XX, PP-266 Rahim Yar Khan-XII, PP-290 Dera Ghazi Khan-V; KP's PK-22 Bajaur-IV, PK-91 Kohat-II; Balochistan's PB-20 Khuzdar-III, PB-22 Lasbela; and Sindh's PS-80 Dadu-I.

174 candidates are in the fray in the by-elections for 12 provincial constituencies from Punjab where the number of voters is 40,44,552 and 2,601 polling stations have been established in Punjab.

According to the Election Commission, there are 14,71,000 voters in the by-elections for two provincial constituencies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 49 candidates are in the field for which 892 polling stations have been established, of which 139 are sensitive.

In NA-196 in Sindh, two candidates are in the fray, 4,23,781 voters will exercise their right to vote and 303 polling stations have been set up, out of which 158 are sensitive.

According to the Election Commission, by-elections will be held for two provincial constituencies 20 and 22 in Balochistan, 3,96,246 voters will exercise their right to vote in the province, 354 polling stations have been established.

 Meanwhile, the election campaign for by-elections in 21 constituencies of national and provincial assemblies of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan concluded at midnight falling between the April 19th and 20th.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has advised that candidates who continue engaging in political activities after this deadline will face legal consequences.

Additionally, the ECP called upon the media and the public to work together to uphold a free, fair, and transparent election process. The commission reminded the candidates participating in the by-elections about Section 182 of the Election Act, 2017.

This section prohibits individuals from organizing, attending, or participating in any public meetings or processions within the constituency’s area for a period of 48 hours after the polls end, until midnight.

The ECP cautioned that those who breach these regulations could be subject to penalties such as imprisonment for a maximum of two years, a fine of up to Rs100,000, or both.

Arrangements have almost been completed to hold the by-elections in five National and 16 provincial assembly constituencies in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan on April 21.

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