Senate elections will be held on March 3: ECP

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday issued the schedule for the upcoming Senate elections in the four provinces.

According to the details, release by ECP the last date for filing of nomination papers is February 13. This will be followed by a scrutiny process for the nominations which will be completed by February 16 while the last date for filing of appeals against acceptance or rejection of papers is February 18.

Furthermore, the notification added that the date for disposal of appeals is February 20 and the revised list of the contestants will be issued later on February 21 while the candidates can use the option of withdrawal of candidature till February 22.

The Senate elections will be held on 48 seats on March 3. The members will contest the election on 2 Islamabad, 11 Punjab, 11 Sindh, 12 KP and 12 Balochistan seats.

The polling time would be from 0900 hours to 1600 hours on March 3 while places of polling would be Parliament House, Islamabad for Federal Capital, Provincial Assembly building, Lahore for Punjab, provincial assembly building, Karachi for Sindh, provincial assembly building Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Peshawar for KP and provincial assembly building, Quetta for Balochistan.

Last week, President Arif Alvi signed the Elections (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 to pave the way for Senate elections to be held via an “open and identifiable ballot.”

According to the Ordinance, a copy of which has been shared by the president on his Twitter account, changes have been brought to Sections 81, 122 and 185 of the Elections Act, 2017.

The Ordinance will come into effect “at once” and “extend to the whole of Pakistan.”

Amendment of section 81, Act XXXIII of 2017 – “In the Elections Act, 2017 (XXXIII of 2017) in section 81, in sub-section (1), for the word “an”, the expression “subject to section 122, an” shall be substituted.

Amendment of section 122, Act XXXIII of 2017 – “In the said Act, in section 122, in sub-section (6), for the full stop at the end. a colon shall be substituted and thereafter. the following two provisos shall be added: “Provided that in case the Supreme Court of Pakistan gives an opinion in Reference No 1 of 2021 filed under Article 186 of the Constitution that elections for the members of Senate do not fall within the purview of Article 226 of the Constitution, the poll for elections for members of the Senate to be held in March 2021 and thereafter shall be conducted by the Commission through the open and identifiable ballot. “Provided further that after the elections for members of Senate, if the head of the political party requests the Commission to show the ballot cast by any voting member of his party, the Commission shall show the same to the head of the political party or his nominee.”

Amendment of section 185, Act XXXIII of 2017 – “In the said Act, in section 185, for the word “an”, the expression “subject to section 122, an” shall be substituted,” the presidential ordinance added.

According to Section 226 of the Constitution: “All elections under the Constitution, other than those of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister, shall be by secret ballot.”

Raja Furqan Ahmed

Raja Furqan Ahmed is the News Editor of The Pakistan Daily.

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