Imran to contest by-polls for 9 NA seats

ISLAMABAD    –    Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan will contest by-elections on nine National Assembly seats scheduled to be held on September 25, according to a party statement issued on Friday.

“In the by-elections of 9 National Assembly constituencies to be held on September 25, Chairman Imran Khan himself will contest from all the seats,” the PTI announced on its official Twitter handle.

Earlier on Friday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued the schedule for the vacated national assembly seats. According to the schedule released by the ECP, the candidates can submit their nomination papers from August 10 to 13, which will be verified by August 17, whereas the election symbols will be issued to the candidates on August 29.

According to the ECP, the by-elections will be held for the constituencies of NA-22 (Mardan), NA-24 (Charsadda), NA-31 (Peshawar), NA-45 (Kurram), NA-108 (Faisalabad), NA-118 (Nankana Sahib), as well as NA-237, 239, and A-246 of Karachi. Amid the PTI’s demand for snap polls and the government’s decision to complete the remaining constitutional tenure till August 2023, elections on the vacant seats would not just be a face-off between the ruling alliance and the PTI and its allies but would turn out to be a referendum on their popularity among masses.

Former PTI information minister Fawad Chaudhry on Friday tweeted that ex-deputy speaker Qasim Suri had already accepted the PTI lawmakers’ resignations and sent the same to the ECP, saying the acceptance of the resignations now has no legal value.

He said that the country was moving towards general elections and the incumbent rulers won’t be able to stop that. Previously, the NA speaker had called in all 131 PTI lawmakers, who had resigned from their assembly seats, to verify if their resignations were “genuine and voluntary”. However, Imran had barred his party members from appearing before the NA speaker, terming it a trap.

The NA Secretariat did not explain why the speaker accepted the resignations of only 11 lawmakers and not others and what criteria were being followed for going ahead with a selected few and leaving 120 others in limbo. The secretariat also did not share if the NA speaker planned to accept more resignations in the coming days.

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