Islamabad [Pakistan], August 6 (ANI): Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief and ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday announced he will contest bypolls on all the nine vacant Assembly seats after the Election Commission of Pakistan released the schedule for bypolls on Friday.
The announcement first came from PTI's official Twitter account, and was later confirmed by the party's Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry while speaking at a press conference, the Dawn reported.
According to the ARY News, in a meeting with journalists, Imran Khan said, "Elections would be held this year, government parties want to single him out....Would fight against the rulers at every platform.""The government alliance's plans to disqualify him would never be completed," he said, adding that appointing Sikandar Sultan Raja as the ECP chief was a major mistake.
The former premier added that two foreign countries offered him funding in the past but he refused. Leaders with popular support cannot be eradicated, he added.
Imran Khan's announcement to contest the bypolls on all nine seats has startled many, with some commentators questioning if the PTI chairman could not find any other suitable candidate and the expenses to be incurred on the subsequent by-elections should Imran Khan win multiple seats and quits all but one.
According to the Dawn, a Representative of Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) of Pakistan, Mudassir Rizvi said that the Constitution provided for by-elections to be held within a certain time-frame after a seat fell vacant, as well as allowing a candidate to contest on multiple seats but retain just one, in case the nominee wins from multiple constituencies.
"That way our Constitution also allows state funds to be incurred on political ambitions of political leaders and parties. In just one constituency only, the kind of staff required, number of polling stations and booths set up, and at least a couple of thousand election staff involved, the expenses run into millions each time," he added.
Election Commission of Pakistan on Friday announced that by-elections on nine National Assembly (NA) seats will be held on September 25.
The poll body announced the schedule for the constituencies of NA-22 Mardan, NA-24 Charsadda, NA-31 Peshawar, NA-45 Kurram, NA-108 Faisalabad, NA-118 Nankana Sahib, as well asNA-237 Malir, NA-239 Korangi Karachi and NA-246 Karachi South.
The nine seats are among the 11 vacated after acceptance of resignations of PTI MNAs by the National Assembly speaker, and their de-notification, last week, following the removal of the party chief Imran Khan from the office of the Prime minister earlier this year.
The NA speaker had accepted the resignations of 11 PTI MNAs, including nine on general seats and two on reserved, under Article 64(1) of the Constitution of Pakistan.
On July 28, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf accepted the resignations of the PTI Lawmakers three months after the en-mass resignation of the lawmakers on April 11 following the ouster of the former prime minister Imran Khan from the top office after the no-confidence motion moved by the joint opposition in the parliament against him succeeded.
The government accepted the resignations of 11 PTI MNAs including Shireen Mazari, Ali Muhammad Khan, Ijaz Shah, Farrukh Habib, Shandana Gulzar, Fazal Muhammad, Fakhar Zaman, Abdul Shakoor Shad, Jameel Ahmed and Akram Cheema, ARY News reported.
The confirmation of the acceptance of the resignations was issued by the NA Secretariat, which issued a list.
Notably, the PTI members after approval of the party's leadership tendered their resignations from the National Assembly. PTI MNA Murad Saeed was the first PTI MNA who submitted his resignation to the National Assembly's speaker, ARY News reported.
The then-Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Qasim Suri approved the resignations of the PTI MNAs. (ANI)