Now Pak EC pre-pones by-polls to June 26

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Islamabad, May 8 : Following protests from political parties, Pakistan's Election Commission (EC) last evening announced a new schedule for the by-elections, which will now be held on June 26.

Earlier, the EC had postponed the by-polls by two months to August 18.

By-elections will be held in eight constituencies of the National Assembly - NA-207 (Larkana), NA-147 (Shiekhupura), NA-147 (Okara), NA-11 (Mardan), NA-52 (Rawalpindi), NA-55 (Rawalpindi), NA-119 (Lahore) and NA-123 (Lahore). By polls will also be held for 17 seats of the Punjab Assembly, three of the Sindh Assembly, seven of the NWFP Assembly and three seats of the Balochistan assembly.

The new schedule allows candidates to file their nomination papers from May 8 to May 13. The candidates who submitted their nomination papers on or before May 5 will not be required to file them again, but those who filed their nomination papers on May 6 will be required to file them again.

The nominations will be scrutinised from May 14 to 20. May 24 will be the last day for the filing of appeals against the returning officers' decisions. Decisions on the appeals will be made by May 31. Candidates will be allowed to withdraw by June 2 and a revised list of candidates will be published the same day.

Meanwhile, political parties welcomed the decision. The PPP, the PML-N and the Awami National Party (ANP) hailed the decision. PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar said his party welcomed the decision. "An unnecessary controversy has come to an end after this decision of the Election Commission."

ANP Information Secretary Zahid Khan also welcomed the decision.

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