KARACHI, Jan 11: With the term of the Sindh Assembly set to end on March 16, the provincial election commission on Friday announced that by-elections on six vacant seats would be held on Feb 18.
The announcement was, however, at variance with a statement of the Chief Election Commissioner, retired Justice Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, made last month in which he declared that the EC would not hold by-polls any more since less than 120 days were left in the completion of the term of the current assemblies.
The six provincial assembly seats, four in Karachi and two in the interior of Sindh, fell vacant after as many lawmakers, four belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and two from the Pakistan People’s Party, resigned instead of submitting affidavits to the election commission about dual nationality.
According to the schedule issued by the election commission, by-elections on six provincial assembly constituencies — PS-73 (Jamshoro), PS-84 (Thatta), PS-101, 103, 113 and 115 of Karachi — will be held on Feb 18.
Nomination papers for the vacant seats can be filed on Jan 20-21. Scrutiny will be held on Jan 26, appeals against acceptance/rejection of nomination papers can be filed on Jan 28. Nomination papers can be withdrawn by Jan 31 and the final list of candidates will be issued on Feb 1.
Interestingly, on the eve of Dec 4 by-polls in Naushahro Feroze, CEC Ebrahim had said that no by-election would be held on vacant national and provincial assembly seats because the assemblies must have at least 120 days of term in order to hold by-elections. “The current Sindh Assembly will complete its term on March 16,” said provincial Election Commissioner Mehboob Anwar on Friday. “So the assembly has at least 60 legitimate days to complete its term. The statistics allow us to hold by-elections in Sindh.”