ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has formally issued a notification of the postponement of Senate polls from FATA.

According to the notification issued here on Friday, next date of the elections will be announced later.

The development has further added to the confusion about the election of new chairman and deputy chairman Senate as fifty percent of members of Upper House would stand retired by March 11. The sitting chairman and deputy chairman are among the retiring members.

The ECP issued the notification after a high level meeting chaired by the Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan. The ECP had also consulted the attorney general and Ministry of Law in this regard.

Earlier in the day of polling, Fata Returning Officer Usman Ali had filed a request to postpone the polling following a late night presidential ordinance which restricted MNAs from Fata to just one vote instead of four votes.

President Mamnoon Hussain signed an ordinance on Fata Regulations, altering the rules for the Senate elections to replace the presidential ordinance on the Fata regulations issued in 2002.

A division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has also issued notices to the Federation of Pakistan and ECP after the parliamentary leader of the Fata National Assembly members GG Jamal filed a writ petition seeking annulment of the ordinance.

Counsel for GG Jamal, Shafqat Abbasi, said before the court that despite his request to the Printing Corporation of Pakistan, he still has not got the gazette notification of the ordinance.

The IHC bench observed that how could the court issue directives on an ordinance that is not before the court.

The counsel for Jamal argued before the court that the said ordinance was issued at midnight, and it is discriminatory towards Fata National Assembly members to curtail their right of vote.

Following these developments the ECP postponed the Senate elections for Fata and sought AGP’s advice on the issue.