ECP all set for Sunday's by-polls in 21 constituencies as electioneering ends

Top electoral body cautions candidates engaging in political activities after deadline will face legal consequences

Web Desk
A man puts his thumb impression on book before issuance of ballot paper during general elections in Islamabad on February 8, 2024. — Online
A man puts his thumb impression on book before issuance of ballot paper during general elections in Islamabad on February 8, 2024. — Online

  • Violators to face up to 2 years jail, Rs100,000 fine, or both.
  • PPP's Aseefa, Zubair elected unopposed in NA-207, PS-80.
  • 239 candidates going to participate in Sunday by-elections.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued a reminder to candidates, under Section 182 of the Election Act, 2017, regarding the electioneering deadline which expires by Friday midnight ahead of by-polls in 21 national and provincial assembly constituencies across Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), and Balochistan on Sunday (April 21).

According to election regulations, campaigning ceased precisely at midnight between Friday and Saturday (April 19-20).

The top electoral body cautions that candidates engaging in political activities after the deadline will face legal consequences.

The aforementioned provision of the Election Act prohibits individuals from organising, attending, or participating in any public gatherings or processions within the constituency's area for 48 hours after the polls close, until midnight.

The commission warned that violators of these regulations could face penalties, including imprisonment for up to two years, a fine of up to Rs100,000, or both.

In addition, the poll watchdog calls upon the media and the public to join efforts in ensuring a free, fair, and transparent election process.

Candidates are now bracing to commence door-to-door canvassing, actively seeking votes, and organising logistics for election day, all aimed at persuading voters.

Earlier this month, a notification was issued by the poll organising authority regarding the organisation of by-elections in a total of 23 constituencies, including six NA, 12 Punjab Assembly, 2 KP Assembly, 2 Balochistan Assembly, and one Sindh Assembly constituencies.

A total of 239 candidates are going to participate in the forthcoming by-elections, including 50 contenders for NA seats, of which Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari was elected unopposed in the NA-207 constituency.

Another PPP leader Zubair Ahmed Junejo was also elected without facing any contest on the PS-80 Dadu seat.

Subsequently, 23 candidates were contesting by-polls for KP Assembly seats, 154 candidates for Punjab Assembly seats, and 12 candidates for Balochistan Assembly seats.

Constituencies where by-polls are being held

The NA seats on which by-elections will take place include NA-8 Bajaur, NA-44 Dera Ismail Khan-I, NA-119 Lahore-III, NA-132 Kasur-II, NA-196 Kamber Shadadkot-I and NA-207 Shaheed Benazirabad-I.

The elections on NA-8 Bajaur and PK-22 Bajaur-IV were suspended after a candidate contesting as an independent on these constituencies was shot dead.

Meanwhile, NA-44 seat fell vacant after newly-elected KP Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur opted to retain his provincial seat from DI Khan.

The NA-119 Lahore-III seat was vacated after Maryam went for the provincial seat which she had won, while NA-132 Kasur fell vacant after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif decided to retain his NA-123 Lahore-VII seat.

PM Shehbaz had also won on Punjab Assembly seats — PP-158 and PP-164 — but since he opted his NA seat, the provincial assembly seats were left vacant.

Moreover, the NA seats from Sindh's constituencies, NA-196 Kamber Shadadkot-I and NA-207 Shaheed Benazirabad-I, were vacated after Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto retained the seat he won in Larkana, while President Asif Ali Zardari gave up his seat following his election as the head of state.

The other provincial assembly seats on which by-polls will be held include Punjab's PP-22 Chakwal-Cum-Talagang, PP-32 Gujrat-VI, PP-36 Wazirabad-II, PP-54 Narowal-|, PP-93 Bhakkar-V, PP-139 Sheikhupura-IV, PP-147 Lahore-III, PP-149 Lahore-V, PP-158 Lahore-XIV, PP-164 Lahore-XX, PP-266 Rahim Yar Khan-XII, PP-290 Dera Ghazi Khan-V; KP's PK-22 Bajaur-IV, PK-91 Kohat-II; Balochistan's PB-20 Khuzdar-III, PB-22 Lasbela; and Sindh's PS-80 Dadu-I.