The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday announced a public holiday for Feb. 8, the date for general elections nationwide, to “enable the voters to exercise their right of franchise freely and conveniently.”
Traditionally, elections in Pakistan are scheduled on the weekend to ensure maximum voter participation. However, this year, they fall on a Thursday, which could impact voter turnout, as polling ends the same time as the working day concludes.
“In exercise of powers conferred under Article 218 of the Constitution … Election Commission of Pakistan is pleased to declare public holiday on February 8 in the country,” it said in a notification.
The announcement came a day after the ECP postponed elections on the National Assembly’s NA-8 and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s PK-22 constituencies after candidate Rehan Zeb Khan was shot dead in Bajaur while campaigning. Similarly, elections were also postponed in PK-91 (Kohat-II) after candidate Asmatullah Khattak died on Tuesday.