PTI chairman and deposed premier Imran Khan on Friday decided to run himself alone for the by-elections for all the nine seats that fell vacant after the National Assembly speaker had accepted the resignations of his party’s lawmakers.
The PTI chairman made his decision public after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced the by-polls in the constituencies on September 25.
The PTI chairman's decision to contest the polls for all the vacant NA seats has raised the stakes of the otherwise considered dull by-elections.
25 ستمبر کو ہونے والے 9 قومی اسمبلی کے حلقوں کے ضمنی انتخابات میں تمام سیٹوں سے چئیرمین عمران خان خود الیکشن لڑیں گے- pic.twitter.com/7jyWeP6sdq— PTI (@PTIofficial) August 5, 2022
The decision to contest the nine NA seats emerged after PTI’s official social media handle as well as several party leaders shared the news on Twitter, hours after the ECP's announcement.
Soon after the decision was made public, social media was flooded with comments.
They included who the government would choose as its joint candidates for the nine seats as well as would it dare to accept Imran’s challenge by announcing only a single heavyweight in all nine constituencies.
Some others, however, raised the question what would happen if Imran’s nomination papers were rejected on technical grounds as that would give a clear edge to the government’s side.
In 2018, Imran made history after he emerged victorious on five NA seats. Imran had defeated political heavyweights including PML-N’s Saad Rafique in Lahore (NA-131) and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in Islamabad (NA-53).
He had also won in Bannu (NA-35), NA-243 in Karachi, and his home constituency in Mianwali (NA-95).
The ECP had previously accepted 11 out of the 131 resignations tendered by the PTI MNAs, following the removal of the party chief from the office of the prime minister back in April this year.
According to the ECP’s schedule, the candidates can submit their nomination papers from August 10 to 13.
The ECP will publish a final list of nominated candidates by August 14. They will be verified by returning officers till August 17 and candidates can file their appeals till August 20. On August 25, the ECP will decide the objections against the candidates while on August 26 , the final list of candidates will be displayed.
The election symbols will be issued to the candidates on August 29.
It said the by-polls would be held in NA-22 Mardan-III; NA-24, Charsadda-II; NA-31 Peshawar-V; NA-45 Kurram-I; NA-108 Faisalabad VIII; NA-118 Nankana Sahib- II; NA-237 Malir- II; NA-239 Korangi Karachi- I and NA-246 Karachi South I.
On July 28, NA Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf had accepted the resignations of 11 PTI members -- exactly 109 days after they had resigned from their seats.
Also read: Question lingers over PTI MNAs’ resignations
The NA speaker had accepted the resignations of several key PTI leaders, including former human rights minister Shireen Mazari, ex-interior minister Ijaz Ahmed Shah, ex-minister of state for parliamentary affairs Ali Muhammad Khan and ex-minister of state for information and broadcasting Farrukh Habib under Article 64-1 of the Constitution.
The other PTI lawmakers whose resignations have been accepted are Fazal Muhammad Khan, Shaukat Ali, Fakhar Zaman Khan, Jamil Ahmed Khan, Muhammad Akram Cheema, Abdul Shakoor Shad and Shandana Gulzar Khan.
Mazari and Shandana were elected on reserved seats for women from Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, respectively.
Article 64 (vacation of seats) reads: “A member of [Majlis-e-Shoora] parliament may, by writing under his hand addressed to the speaker or, as the case may be, the chairman resign [from] his seat, and thereupon his seat shall become vacant.”
NA Secretariat officials said the resignations were accepted after fulfilling the requirements under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007.
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