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PTI to take part in by-polls on 33 National Assembly seats

PTI to take part in by-polls on 33 National Assembly seats

The PTI announced on Sunday that it would take part in the by-elections on 33 National Assembly seats, adding that party chairman Imran Khan would contest for all the seats up for grabs.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the party’s core committee in Lahore, PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi said: “There was a long discussion and debate, and the party decided that it would participate in the by-polls for the 33 seats.”

He further said that Imran would be the party’s sole candidate on all 33 NA seats and lawmakers earlier elected on those seats would submit paperwork as “covering candidates”.

“So we have decided to take part in the polls,” he said.

The Election Commiss­ion of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday issued the schedule for polls on 33 NA seats, setting March 16 as the polling date. The seats had fallen vacant after NA Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, accepted 35 more resignations of PTI lawmakers earlier this month.

The speaker later accepted more resignation in two parts followed by their de-notification by the ECP, taking the total number of those de-notified this month to 113, including 86 members elected on general seats, 23 on reserved seats for women and four on reserved seats for religious minorities.

The schedule has been announced for the seats, which fell vacant after 35 members, including two on reserved seats for women, had been de-notified on January 17.

They included Sheikh Rashid, Asad Umar, Murad Saeed, Mohammad Hammad Azhar, Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Shafqat Mahmood Khan, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi, Zartaj Gul, Malik Mohammad Amir Dogar, Omar Ayub Khan, Asad Qaiser, Pervaiz Khattak, Sheharyar Afridi, Imran Khattak, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Ali Amin Khan, Noorul Haq Qadri, Raja Khurram Shahzad Nawaz, Ali Nawaz Awan, Sadaqat Ali Khan, Shafique, Mansoor Hayat Khan, Fawad Ahmed, Sanaullah Khan Mastikhel, Faheem Khan, Saifur Rehman, Muhammad Alam­gir Khan, Aftab Hussain Saddique, Attau­llah, Aftab Jhangir, Mohammad Najeeb Haroon and Mohammad Qasim Khan Suri.

According to the schedule, the returning officers (ROs) will issue a public notice in this regard on Feb 3 while candidates will be able to file their nomination papers with the ROs from Feb 6 to 8, followed by the issuance of list of the nominated candidates next day.

Scrutiny of documents will be carried out till Feb 13, followed by publication of a revised list of candidates on Feb 21. However, contesting candidates will be able to withdraw their candidature by next day and the final list of candidates will be issued same day.

The candidates will be allotted election symbols on February 23 and polling will be conducted on March 16.

During today’s media talk, Qureshi also spoke about the delay in conducting elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. He said that the PTI’s core committee had passed a resolution in this regard.

“A delay in the commencement of elections under the guise of any reason would be equivalent to an attack on the Constitution, which will be liable to legal action under Article 6 (high treason) of the Constitution,” he said as he read the resolution out loud.

At the same time, the PTI also called on President Arif Alvi to take “immediate notice of the intelligence agencies’ and other powerful forces’ increasing interference in national political matters”.

PTI Secretary General Asad Umar read out a second resolution passed by the party’s core committee, saying, “The PTI leadership wishes to direct the attention of the president and the supreme commander of the armed forces towards the statement by the KP governor that the KP elections’ date will be given by the agencies and the establishment.”

He added, “PTI demands the president to take immediate notice of the intelligence agencies’ and other powerful forces’ increasing interference in national political matters.”

He further asked the president to take notice of the “false cases against the PTI workers and leaders, their kidnappings, judicial torture on them, and threatening phone calls made to them on the directions of a few black sheep in the state institutions”.

Asserting that these actions were negatively impacting the reputations of the country’s institutions, Umar asked the president to enquire about the “black sheep that the PTI and free media have been pointing out”.

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