Sun, 04 Jun 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], March 30 (ANI): The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday announced that the elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be held on October 8, the same date as Punjab's polls, Geo News reported.

The ECP in a notification said that the elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be held on October 8. Pakistan's electoral body said that the election schedule will be issued in due course of time, as per the news report.

In a notification, the ECP said, "...the Election Commission of Pakistan notifies 8 October, 2023 as poll date for the General Elections to the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Election Programme for election under Section 57(2) of the Elections Act, 2017 will be issued in due course of time."Earlier, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor had proposed May 28 as the date for the elections. Citing security concerns, he later called on the election commission to hold elections on October 8.

The development will not be welcomed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as it has already opposed ECP's decision to delay the Punjab elections. However, the Pakistan government welcomed the electoral body's decision.

Pakistan's President Arif Alvi had given the date of April 30 after Supreme Court's order, Geo News reported. However, the ECP on March 22 announced a delay in upcoming elections citing security concerns as the major reason behind the change of plan.

After ECP's decision to postpone the elections, the PTI approached the Supreme Court and the case is being heard by a five-member bench, including Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial. The ECP decided to withdraw their earlier announcement for Punjab polls after the security and financial bodies refused to support the electoral body during the upcoming elections.

Last week, Pakistan's Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb welcomed the Election Commission of Pakistan's decision of delaying elections in Punjab, The News International reported, adding that she said that ECP's decision is in Pakistan's interest and will ensure political stability in the country.

In a statement, Aurangzeb stated that the election panel took the decision after consulting all stakeholders. She said, "The election commission has taken the decision after consulting all stakeholders. The ECP took the decision after considering the economic, political and security situation", as per the news report.

Marriyum Aurangzeb stressed that the commission under Article 218 of the Constitution has to ensure that transparent, impartial and fair elections are held in Pakistan. She said the elections would have remained controversial forever if they were conducted in the two provinces on the scheduled date. (ANI)

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