By-Polls on April 21 for Vacant NA and Provincial Assembly Seats

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has recently announced the schedule for the by-elections on the national and provincial assembly seats that were left vacant following the general elections held on February 8, 2024. The by-elections are set to take place across the country on April 21, 2024.

The by-elections will be conducted on six National Assembly (NA) seats, twelve provincial assembly seats in Punjab, two each in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan assemblies, and one in Sindh Assembly. The vacant seats include six NA and fifteen provincial seats across four provinces.

The ECP has outlined a detailed schedule for the by-elections. Candidates can file their nomination papers from March 16-18. The nominated candidates’ names will be published on March 18. The scrutiny of the papers by the returning officers (RO) will be held on March 21. Candidates, whose papers have been rejected, can file appeals on the RO’s decision until March 25.

The appellate tribunal must then decide on the appeals by March 28 and the revised list of candidates will be issued the same day. Candidates who wish to withdraw from the polls can do so by March 29. On the next day, March 30, running candidates will be allotted election symbols.

The by-elections are being held due to various reasons. Some seats fell vacant after the elected representatives opted to retain other seats they had won. For instance, the NA-119 Lahore-III seat was vacated after Maryam went for the provincial seat which she had won.

Similarly, NA-132 Kasur fell vacant after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif decided to retain his NA-123 Lahore-VII seat. Other seats were vacated due to unfortunate incidents such as the suspension of elections on NA-8 Bajaur and PK-22 Bajaur-IV after a candidate contesting as an independent on these constituencies was shot dead.

The by-elections represent a significant event in Pakistan’s democratic process, allowing citizens to elect their representatives for the vacant seats in the national and provincial assemblies. The ECP’s announcement of the by-election schedule signifies the continuation of this process, ensuring that all constituencies have their representatives in the assemblies.

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