The Election Commission has announced to hold by-elections on the 33 National Assembly seats vacated by PTI members, on March 16.
On Jan 25, the top electoral authority denotified 43 members of the National Assembly who were elected on the party’s ticket.
Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf had accepted the resignations of 43 more PTI legislators in the lower house of the federal Parliament. The NA had earlier processed the resignations at least twice.
The former ruling party had submitted its resignations from the NA in April 2022, in protest at an alleged “regime change conspiracy” that PTI chairman Imran Khan claims was behind the vote of no confidence that ousted his government.
The resignations were not accepted at first – due to statutory requirements and legal procedures, but mostly in the hope that party’s chief Imran Khan would take another ‘U-turn’ and return to the assembly. However, they were then processed in batches, with at least 69 resignations approved since 17 January.
In its notification today, the ECP said that the returning officers would issue a public notice on Feb 3. Candidates, it maintained, can file their nomination papers with the ROs from Feb 6-8.
It further announced to publish the names of the nominated candidates on Feb 9.
The PTI members in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are unhappy with their resignations. They had wished for the party’s chairman to backtrack on his move in view of the situation in the province.
Pervez Khattak, too, had asked Imran Khan to postpone the move but he didn’t agree. Now, the PTI does not have any contact with people at the grassroots, and they aren’t happy with the former PM’s policy of electioneering.
It isn’t easy to provide people with transport, let alone motivating them to go and cast their votes in the elections, according to Ismail Khan, a journalist from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Khan had told Khabar Say Aagay host Raza Rumi that Imran was warned about dissolving KP Assembly, because it could prove to be detrimental.
He quoted former KP ministers as saying the PTI chief acted on Fawad Chaudhry’s advice, not theirs.
Speaking on the occasion, journalist Mazhar Abbas had said, “Imran Khan’s current policy may prove to be a dangerous gamble if he doesn’t win back both K-P and Punjab in the forthcoming elections.”
Abbas had also pointed at the failure of the former premier’s party to motivate people to cast their votes for them in Karachi during the Sindh local government elections.