ECP Announces Comprehensive Schedule for April 2 Senate Elections

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has laid out a meticulous schedule for the forthcoming Senate elections, slated for April 2. This pivotal electoral event comes on the heels of the expiration of the six-year term of the incumbent senators on March 11. The ECP’s announcement is a significant step in Pakistan’s democratic process, as it prepares to fill 48 seats in the upper house of Parliament.

In a move that reflects the changes brought about by the 25th Constitutional amendment, the elections will not include the previously reserved seats for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), reducing the number of seats from 52 to 48. This amendment signifies a notable shift in the electoral landscape of Pakistan.

The election process will commence with the submission of nomination papers from March 15 to 16, followed by the publication of nominated candidates on March 17. The scrutiny of nomination papers is scheduled for March 19, ensuring that all candidates meet the necessary criteria. Any appeals against the acceptance or rejection of nominations must be filed by March 21, with the tribunal set to dispose of these appeals by March 25. The revised list of candidates will be published on March 26, allowing for any withdrawals by March 27.

Polling day is set to be a significant event, with voting taking place in Islamabad’s Parliament House and all four provincial assemblies from 9 am to 4 pm. The ECP has appointed returning officers (ROs) in Islamabad and the provinces to oversee the elections. Notably, ECP Director General Training Saeed Gul will serve as the RO in the federal capital, with provincial election commissioners Aijaz Anwar Chohan, Sharifullah, Shamshad Khan, and Muhammad Farid Afridi acting as ROs in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan, respectively.

The electoral body’s preparations coincide with by-polls for six Senate seats vacated from Sindh, Balochistan, and Islamabad, following the prohibition of dual membership for lawmakers under Article 223 of the Constitution. These by-polls are a prelude to the comprehensive Senate elections and reflect the ongoing efforts to maintain the integrity and continuity of Pakistan’s legislative bodies.

As Pakistan gears up for these crucial elections, the ECP’s schedule ensures a transparent and orderly process, reinforcing the nation’s commitment to upholding democratic values. The upcoming Senate elections are not just a renewal of the upper house but also an affirmation of Pakistan’s resilient democratic framework.

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