ECP still awaiting verdicts on 85 constituencies

ISLAMABAD: Polling day is barely a week away, but election authorities are still waiting for court decisions with regard to the candidature of contestants in 85 constituencies before they can finish printing ballot papers.

Different wings of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday briefed the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sardar Raza Khan on their preparations for July 25 general election.

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The CEC was told that out of 849 national and provincial assemblies’ constituencies, cases regarding candidature of candidates contesting in 85 constituencies are still pending with higher courts.

Majority of these constituencies are in Sindh and Punjab.  For general elections, returning officers (ROs) made their decisions about candidature of contestants on June 19. Those aggrieved by the ROs decisions on accepting or rejecting nominations had approached appellate tribunals.

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June 27 was the last date for deciding appeals by the tribunals. After appellate tribunals, the next forum is high courts and the Supreme Court. A large number of cases landed in higher courts, many of which are still pending while polling day is less than two weeks away.

The ECP was scheduled to complete the printing of ballot papers by July 20. The election material should reach the offices of the ROs by July 24.

ECP spokesman Nadeem Qasim said it is expected that all the pending cases will be decided in a day or two.  According to him, the ECP would be able to complete the printing and delivery of ballot papers within the available time.

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