ECP proposes KP, Punjab elections in mid-april

Writes letters to provincial governors seeking final dates for polls n ECP de-notifies another 43 PTI MNAs

ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR        -       The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has notified that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces should hold elections in mid-April.

“Provincial elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab should be held between April 15 and April 17.The KP governor has been requested to set a date for the elections as soon as possible,” says a letter written by the ECP to the KP governor here yesterday. According to an official, an identical letter was also written to the governor of Punjab, proposing elections in the province between April 9 and April 13.

The letter says that as per Section 224 (2) of the Constitution, elections are to be held within 90 days of the dissolution of an assembly while the results are announced within 14 days.

On January 18, the KP Assembly was dissolved. Aside from the provincial assemblies, a number of seats in the National Assembly became vacant when Speaker Raja Parvez Ashraf accepted the resignations of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf legislators.

According to the letter, Article 105(3) (a) of the Constitution requires the governor to choose a date for holding elections to the assembly no later than 90 days after the assembly’s dissolution. It went on to say that, according to Sub-Section (1) of Section 57 of the Elections Act of 2017, consultation with the ECP was also required before setting the polling date. Earlier, the ECP, in a meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, deliberated to preparation for polls and by-polls for the provincial assemblies.The session was attended by the ECP members, provincial election commissioners and officials from all wings of the Commission.

The meeting discussed about the electoral material, polling stations, voter lists and other related material for these polls. The huddle was briefed about the preparations underway following the dissolution of the two assemblies.The meeting was directed to step up preparations for elections and early completion of the process of appointment of presiding officers and other election staff. Meanwhile, the ECP de-notified 43 PTI MNAs, with a gap of one day of accepting their resignations by Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. The electoral watchdog the last week had de-notified over hundred PTI’s MNAs whose resignations were pending for the last ten months. The Speaker National Assembly had accepted resignations of PTI MNAs in the last two weeks, except two PTI members — Sardar Talib Nakai and Nawaz Alai for being on leave.The resignations of PTI lawmakers of the National Assembly were approved in four different phases. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan had won the by-elections on six seats but not taken oath from the national assembly as yet. The de-notified members include Riaz Fatiyana, Sardar Tariq Hussain, Muhammad Yaqub Sheikh, Murtaza Iqbal, Sardar Muhammad Khan Leghari, Haji Imtiaz Chaudhry, Lal Chand, Jawad Hussain, Nosheen Hamid, Manza Hassan, Saima Nadeem, Tashfeen Safdar, Subia Kamal Khan, Zil-i-Huma, Rukhsana Naveed, Ghazala Saifee and others. The ECP also sought Rs14 billion additional grants from the federal government for meeting the expenses of holding general elections in the country.

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