Pursuant to the orders issued by various courts, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Sunday canceled the by-elections for 37 National Assembly seats that were earlier scheduled on March 16 and 19. Ah, news reported.
In a notification issued today, the ECP said its earlier announcements for by-elections for 24 seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 3 in Islamabad, one in Balochistan and 9 NA seats in Sindh, remained suspended.
Constituencies in which by-elections were canceled include:
NA-241 Korangi Karachi-III, NA-242 Karachi East-I, NA-243 Karachi East-II, NA-244 Karachi East-III, NA-247 Karachi South-II, NA-250 Karachi West-III, NA- 252 Karachi West-V, and NA-254 Karachi Central-II.
NA-4 Swat, NA-17 Haripur, NA-18 Swabi, NA 22 Mardan, NA 24 Charsadda, NA-25, NA-26 Nowshera, NA 31 Peshawar, NA-32 Kohat, NA-38 Dera Ismail Khan (DI Khan ), and NA-43 Khyber.
Balochistan: NA-265 Quetta-II.
Islamabad: NA 52, 53 and 54.
These seats remained vacant as the EKP did not notify the PTI MPs after President Raja Pervaiz Ashraf accepted their resignations. More than 120 MNAs belonging to the PTI tendered their resignations en masse after the Imran Khan government was ousted through a no-confidence motion in April last year.
However, the PTI challenged the move in the Lahore High Court, prompting the ECP to withdraw the de-notification order of 30 MNAs belonging to the PTI and postpone the by-election process in 27 seats.
The Election Commission also restored the membership of five women MNAs of PTI.
EKP withdrew the order to mark 30 PTI MNAs and suspended the by-elections
On February 20, LHC judge Shahid Karim issued an interim order on the petitions filed by Shafqat Mahmood and others and suspended the by-election process in the petitioners’ constituencies.
The petitioners through their counsel argued that the Speaker cannot accept the resignations of any MNA without following the three-step procedure prescribed by the Constitution.
He pointed out that mass resignations cannot be accepted and each MNA must submit an application in his own handwriting and resignations must be voluntary.
And for the verification of these things, the Speaker must undertake a personal hearing of every MNA who wants to resign, he added.