ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday announced that the by-election on nine National Assembly seats vacated by the PTI will be held on Sep 25 — a week after the resignations of lawmakers on the seats in question were accepted by NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.
The NA speaker had on July 28 accepted the resignations of 11 MNAs — nine on general seats and two on reserved seats for women — belonging to the PTI, triggering recriminations from the party for the “piecemeal” acceptance, as well as a legal battle in the Islamabad High Court. The MNAs were de-notified on July 30.
The PTI lawmakers were among the more than 100 who resigned en masse on April 11, two days after former prime minister Imran Khan was ousted from the top office in a no-confidence vote.
According to an ECP statement issued today, the by-elections for the constituencies of NA-22 Mardan, NA-24 Charsadda, NA-31 Peshawar, NA-45 Kurram, NA-108 Faisalabad, NA-118 Nankana Sahib and Karachi’s NA-237, NA-239, and NA-246 will be held on Sep 25. The electoral watchdog said candidates could submit their nomination papers from Aug 10 to 13, which would be verified by Aug 17, while election symbols would be issued to the candidates on August 29. The last date to decide appeals by the appellate tribunal is Aug 25, according to the ECP.
The NA speaker had accepted the resignations of several key PTI leaders, including Dr Shireen Mazari, Farrukh Habib, Ali Muhammad Khan and Ijaz Ahmed Shah.
The lawmakers whose resignations were accepted also included Fazal Muhammad Khan, Shaukat Ali, Fakhar Zaman Khan, Jamil Ahmed Khan, Muhammad Akram Cheema and Abdul Shakoor Shad. Dr Mazari and Shandana Gulzar Khan had been elected on reserved seats for women.
In April, the NA Speaker decided to verify the resignations of the 123 PTI lawmakers, by calling them individually or in small groups as some two dozen MNAs belonging to the formerly ruling party approached him seeking a meeting to clarify their stance.
Sources in the NA Secretariat had confirmed that a majority of the resignations submitted by the PTI MNAs were not handwritten and had a similar text printed on the PTI’s letterhead. They said the secretariat staff also had doubts over the signatures of some members as these were not matching with those on the assembly’s roll.
According to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007, a member may “by writing under his hand addressed to the speaker resign his seat”.
In 2020, when PTI was in power, former minister Sheikh Rashid had said that printed resignations held no legal value when PDM was threatening en masse resignations. On July 27, the NA speaker accepted the resignations of 11 lawmakers of the party.
Ali Muhammad Khan, Fazal Muhammad Khan, Shaukat Ali, Fakhar Zaman Khan, Farrukh Habib, Jamil Ahmed Khan, Muhammad Akram Cheema, Abdul Shakoor Shad, Dr Shireen Mazari, Shandana Gulzar Khan and Ijaz Ahmed Shah are the MNAs who have been denotified from their seats.
Subsequently, the party approached IHC earlier this week seeking approval for all the PTI’s MNAs’ resignations and their denotification.