In a major policy shift, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has appointed its own officials as returning officers to supervise the October 16 by-polls in Multan’s NA-149 constituency.
The seat had fallen vacant following the resignation of former PTI leader Javed Hashmi. The ECP has appointed the regional election commissioner Multan as district returning officer (DRO) and the district election commissioner as returning officer (RO).
The assistant commissioner Multan, district education officer and election officer Multan will work under the DRO and RO as assistant returning officers for the constituency, an official notification said. This is the first time in years that the ECP has appointed non-judicial officers as a DRO and an RO.
Previously, judicial officers of the lower judiciary had been appointed as returning officers while district and session judges served as district returning officers. Questions were raised over the role of these judicial officers as the opposition parties made rigging claims during last year’s general elections.
The ECP has also formally issued the schedule of by-polls for the NA-149 constituency.
The newly appointed RO will issue a public notice for polls in the constituency today (Wednesday). As per the schedule, intending candidates will file their nomination papers on September 22nd and 23rd. The RO will scrutinise the nomination papers on September 24th and 25th. Appeals can be filed against the RO’s decisions by September 27th and a final list of candidates will be displayed on October 1st.
JUI-F MNA de-seated
After the Election Tribunal declared the education certificates of Maulvi Agha Muhammad as fake, the ECP de-notified him as a member of the National Assembly. Agha, a leader of the JUI-F, was elected to the NA from NA-261 Pishim/Ziarat in the 2013 general elections. The election tribunal on September 9 declared that Maulvi Agha’s educational degree was fake.
Re-polling at 33 stations in PP-97 Gujranwala
The ECP has ordered fresh polls in 33 polling stations of a Punjab Assembly constituency PP-97 Gujranwala. The ECP has asked the DRO to prepare a fresh polling schedule for the 33 stations. Chaudhry Ashraf Warraich of the PML-N was declared a winner in the May 11, 2013 general elections from this constituency. The tribunal declared his election void till fresh polls were conducted in 33 polling stations where large-scale anomalies had been detected.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2014.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ