PTI Decides Imran Khan Will Contest All 33 NA By-Elections

PTI Decides Imran Khan Will Contest All 33 NA By-Elections
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) announced that it will contest the by-elections for 33 National Assembly (NA) seats in March, adding that party chairman Imran Khan would be the only PTI contestant on all the NA seats up for grabs.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the party’s core committee in Lahore on Sunday, PTI vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that “there was a long discussion and debate” after which the party made its decision.

“So we have decided to take part in the polls,” he said, even though it would only be Khan participating in the by-elections – despite all the 'electables' PTI has accumulated over the years.

Qureshi clarified that party chairman Imran Khan would be the party’s candidate for all 33 NA seats. PTI lawmakers elected on those seats in 2018 would, however, submit their paperwork to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as “covering candidates”.

By-elections on seats vacated by PTI

On Friday, the ECP issued the date for by-elections on 33 now-vacant seats of the lower house of Parliament as 16 March. These seats had fallen vacant after NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf accepted 35 resignations from members of the National Assembly on 17 January, followed by 35 more resignations on 20 January. The speaker later accepted a further 43 resignations on 24 January, after which the ECP issued orders for their denotification.

The total number of former NA members who have been denotified this month is now 113, including 86 members elected on general seats, 23 on reserved seats for women, and 4 on reserved seats for religious minorities. All of these vacated seats belong to PTI members who, along with Awami Muslim League president Shaikh Rasheed, had resigned en masse in April 2022.

According to the ECP schedule, returning officers (ROs) will issue a public notice on 3 February after which candidates will be able to file their nomination papers from 6 to 8 February. A list of the nominated candidates and the allotted symbols would be published on 9 February.