ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top election body announced on Wednesday that by-elections in nine National Assembly constituencies would be held on October 16.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) postponed by-elections on the grounds that polls could not be held due to devastation caused by heavy rains and floods in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, southern Sindh and South Punjab provinces.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the by-elections of NA-22 Mardan, NA-24 Charsadda, NA-31 Peshawar, NA-45 Kurram, NA-108 Faisalabad, NA-118 Nankana Sahib, NA-237 Karachi and NA-239 Karachi would take place on October 16.
The National Assembly seats had fallen vacant after Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf accepted the resignations of 11 PTI lawmakers on July 28, nine of whom had been elected on general seats.
Earlier, the ECP also postponed by-elections on four other seats, NA-157 Multan, PP-139 Sheikhupura, PP-209 Khanewal and PP-241 Bahawalnagar to October 9. In its latest notification, the ECP revised the dates once again to say that by-polls in these constituencies would also be held on October 16.
It said that the date for by-polls in these constituencies had been changed due to the possibility of Eid Milad-un-Nabi[to celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) birthday] falling on October 9. The ECP said in its notification that the Lahore High had also directed it to hold polling on October 16 in light of Eid Milad-un-Nabi.
“Keeping in mind the possible date of Eid Milad-un-Nabi and to facilitate voters, ECP has decided that polling in these constituencies will take place on October 16,” the election body’s notification said.
The decision was taken following a meeting of Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja, the secretary election commission and other senior members of the body.
The ECP said polling for the second phase of local government elections in the Karachi Division will take place on October 23. On local government elections in Hyderabad Division, the commission said it would take its decision after it reviews reports by the Sindh government and provincial election commission on the situation of floods in the province.
Unusually heavy rains have killed over 1,400 people in Pakistan since mid-June and destroyed swathes of crops and demolished thousands of homes. As Pakistan estimates over $40 billion in damages, authorities estimate it may take up to six months for the water to recede in some of the worst-hit areas.