ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday issued the final schedule of elections on 46 seats of Senate out of 52 seats as polls on four seats of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and two seats of Islamabad are subject to related parliamentary legislation.
The Senate polls will be held on March 3 as per the official schedule already approved by the ECP, which was formally notified on February 2. According to two related notifications, the public notice by returning officers inviting nomination papers would be issued on February 3 [today].
February 8 is the last date for filing nomination papers. The last date for publication of the names of nominated candidates is February 9 and the last date for scrutiny of nomination papers is February 12.
Last date for filing of appeals against acceptance/rejection of nominations is February 15; the last date for disposal of appeals by the tribunal is February 17; the last date for publication of revised list of candidates is February 18 and the last date for withdrawal of candidature is February 19.
Originally, the elections were scheduled on 52 seats of the Senate on March 3 but the ECP notified the schedule for 46 seats of the four provincial assemblies and excluded the six seats falling in Fata and Islamabad.
Fata and Islamabad are not notified in the election schedule as the federal government has not extended the Election Act 2017 to Fata and Islamabad. The Election Act 2017 was passed by the parliament last year, few months back.
A source in the ECP said if the respective sessions of upper and lower houses of Parliament are summoned to amend the existing Election Act and extend it to Islamabad and Fata within next few days, the Senate elections can be held there on March 3 with slight amendments in the election schedule.
In case the desired legislation is not carried out soon, the elections will be held on 46 seats of the Senate. The remaining six seats will be filled only when the required legislation is carried out, he said.
“It was a serious mistake on part of the federal government to overlook extending the Election Act to Fata and Islamabad in the related bill. Until and unless the required legislation is done, the polls cannot be held on the six seats even if it takes months,” he said while requesting not to be named.
In the light of the related electoral provisions, the Senate polls are held every three years when half of the senators complete their six-year term, out of 104-member house. The Senate comprises 66 general seats, 17 seats reserved for women, 17 seats reserved for technocrats and four seats for non-Muslims
Of these 104 seats, each province has 23 seats including 14 general seats, four women seats, four technocrat seats and a non-Muslim seat. Fata has eight general seats in the Senate while Islamabad has four seats including two general seats, a women seat and a technocrat seat.
Out of 46 seats on which polls are taking place, 24 belong to Punjab and Sindh (12 seats in each province including seven general seats, two women, two technocrat and a non-Muslim seat) while 22 belong to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan (11 seats in each province including seven general seats, two women seats and two technocrat seat).