The election schedule set by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is found to be in violation of rules and procedures defined in the Elections Act 2017, DawnNewsTV reported on Wednesday.
According to Section 57 (2)(i) of the Act, the election should take place at least 28 days after the issuance of the revised list of candidates contesting the polls.
However, the commission has set June 29 as the deadline for issuance of the final list, which according to the current schedule [having July 25 as polling day] means that the election will be held sooner than the required time — after a period of 26 days.
Moreover, the ECP has also missed the June 25 deadline to finalise the polling schemes for all the provinces, thereby violating Section 59 (6) of the Elections Act 2017, which stipulates that the commission must issue the schemes 30 days prior to the polling day.
As of today, the polling day is 28 days away, but the polling schemes are yet to be finalised.
The delay is due to the fact that the returning officers (ROs) in several districts have not yet filed their respective polling schemes, thereby impeding their finalisation and publication in a gazette notification and also on the ECP website.
Aside from polling day, the election schedule has the following remaining stages:
June 27: Final date for appeals against the acceptance or rejection of a candidate's nomination papers.
June 28: Deadline for the issuance of reviewed election candidate list.
June 29: Last day for an election candidate to withdraw from standing for elections.
June 29: Day scheduled for issuance of final election candidate list.
June 30: Candidates will be allotted election symbols.
July 25: Polling day.
As soon as July begins, the candidates will have 23 days to run their election campaigns; moreover, all campaign activities must be brought to a halt 48 hours prior to the polling day.