PESHAWAR: The returning officers on Saturday announced schedule of by-elections for four National Assembly seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which was vacated by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf lawmakers, with the polling slated to be held on Sept 25.

Four returning officers issued notices calling upon the voters of four National Assembly constituencies to elect their representatives from their respective constituencies, including NA-22 Mardan, NA-24 Charssada, NA-31 Peshawar and NA-45 Kurram.

Similarly, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Election Commissioner Mohammad Farid Afridi, who is returning officer for the seat reserved for women from the province, issued notice seeking nomination papers for the seat also vacated by a PTI lawmaker.

According to notices for the general seats and that of the reserved seat, nomination papers can be filed from Aug 10 to Aug 13, whereas scrutiny of nomination papers will take place on Aug 17.

ECP bans new uplift projects, transfers and postings in those constituencies

Last date for the filing of appeals against acceptance or rejection of nomination papers will be Aug 20, whereas the last date for deciding those appeals by the appellate tribunal will be Aug 25.

Last date for the withdrawal of candidature and publication of revised lists will be Aug 27.

The returning officers for the general seats will allot symbols to the candidates on Aug 29, whereas polling for those seats will take place on Sept 25.

The reserved seat for women will be filled on basis of proportional representation. As the seat fell vacant due to acceptance of resignation of Shandana Gulzar, an MNA of PTI, it will be filled by a candidate of her party, which will provide a priority list of candidates.

The four general seats from KP have fallen vacant due to resignations of Ali Mohammad Khan (Mardan), Fazal Mohammad Khan (Charssada), Shaukat Ali (Peshawar) and Fakhar Zaman Khan (Kurram).

The returning officers appointed by the Election Commission of Pakistan for the said four general seats included Mardan’s district election commissioner Ziaur Rahim for NA-22, deputy director of the Provincial Election Commission Mohammad Imran for NA-24, deputy director Abdul Qadir for NA-31 and district election commissioner of Mansehra Mohammad Ishaq Khan Marwat for NA-45.

The ECP has already banned postings and transfers of government officers as well as announcing any developmental scheme in the districts and constituencies, respectively, where schedule for by-elections has been issued.

The commission has issued a notification under Article 218(3) of the Constitution read with sub-section 4 of sections 5 and 181 of the Elections Act, 2017, directing that no government or authority should post or transfer any officer in the districts, where schedule for by-elections has been issued until the publication of names of returned candidates.

The commission further said that no government functionary or elected representative, including a local government functionary or elected representative, would announce any development scheme for the constituencies, where by-elections were to be held, until Sept 25.

Moreover, the ECP also assigned magisterial powers under the Code of Criminal Procedure to the district returning officers and returning officers appointed to conduct the by-elections. Those officers will exercise the powers of magistrate first class in respect to different offences provided in sections 169 and 171 of the Elections Act and will try those offences summarily.

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2022

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