ISLAMABAD: A total of 370 candidates are in the electoral arena for 35 constituencies of the National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies, as voters in these constituencies will exercise their right to vote today (Sunday) while over 7,000 overseas Pakistanis are also expected to take part in the bye-poll process through I-voting.
As many as 661 candidates have filed nomination papers, of whom, 271 either withdrew or retired, whereas the papers of 16 were rejected and hence nominations of 645 were validly accepted. However, almost half of them have bowed out from the poll process. The bye-election enables overseas Pakistanis to mark their participation in the polling for the first time. The Election Commission of Pakistan has again put in place the result transmission system (RTS) with the instructions to the polling staff not to wait if it develops fault (s) and rush to the relevant returning officer along with the results. The failure of RTS in July 25 general election had generated a massive criticism from different segments of the society, particularly political parties. However, the process is on for the constitution of a parliamentary commission to probe alleged rigging and the RTS failure.
The Election Commission notified on Saturday Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Ahmad Khan as returned (unopposed) candidate from PP-87, Mianwali. Referring to the Lahore High Court verdict, the Election Commission has directed the electronic media not to issue unofficial results of the bye-election before 6 pm Sunday. Out of total 35 constituencies, 11 belong to the National Assembly and 24 to the provincial assemblies where the polling will commence at 8 am and continue till 5 pm without any break. On its part, the Election Commission has already completed all the arrangements for the smooth conduct of the polls, as ballot papers have also been handed over to the presiding officers, which will be distributed under the supervision of the Pakistan Army. Besides other arrangements, the Election Commission has established a control room for guidance of overseas Pakistanis with regards to the electoral process.
In a statement on the eve of polling, the Election Commission directed those overseas Pakistanis, who may not have yet received voting password, to contact the control room at 0092512778899. The registered voters will not be able to cast their votes without a password. The Election Commission has issued passwords to the registered 7,364 overseas Pakistanis, who fall in these 35 constituencies.