The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday issued the schedule for elections to the Punjab Assembly, directing candidates to file their nomination papers between March 12 and March 14.
In a notification, the electoral body said it was issuing the schedule for elections to the Punjab Assembly, which was dissolved on Jan. 14, in accordance with a recent Supreme Court ruling and President Arif Alvi announcing April 30 as the date for the polls. Exercising its powers under Article 224(2) and 254 of the Constitution, read with Section 57(2) of the Elections Act, 2017, the ECP said the public notice for elections would be issued by the returning officer on March 11 (Saturday).
This would be followed by candidates filing their nomination papers with the retuning officer between March 12 and March 14, with the names of the nominated candidates being published on March 15. At this point, the scrutiny of the nomination papers would commence and continue until March 22. Any appeals against decisions of the returning officer against the rejection or acceptance of nomination papers would have to be filed by March 27, with all appeals to be decided by the Appellate Tribunal by April 3.
The ECP would publish the revised list of candidates on April 4, with the last date for withdrawal of candidacy and publication of revised list of candidates set for April 5. The candidates would be allotted election symbols on April 6, nearly a month ahead of polls on April 30.
According to the ECP, the schedule would also apply to seats reserved for women and non-Muslims, with the last date for filing the priority list of these candidates set at March 14.
The date for elections in Punjab was announced by the president after the Supreme Court ruled that he was the competent authority to do so following Governor Balighur Rehman maintaining that as he did not dissolve the provincial assembly, he could not issue a date for polls. The apex court, meanwhile, directed KP Governor Haji Ghulam Ali to announce a date for the province, as he had signed the summary seeking the dissolution of provincial assembly. However, he has yet to do so, and sought additional time for deliberations this week prior to issuing any date.