Senate polls on March 2

Senate polls on March 2

Election Commission of PakistanISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday announced the schedule for the Senate election and fixed March 2, 2012 as the polling day.

Half of senators in the 100-member House are retiring on March 11, and would be replaced by newly-elected members.For the first time in the electoral history of Pakistan, all intending candidates would submit an affidavit with their nomination papers regarding their nationality. Under Article 63 of People Representation Act, dual nationality holders would not be allowed to contest the election.Earlier, the ECP had no mechanism to check dual nationalities of contesting candidates, however, all candidates in this election would have to submit an affidavit with their nomination papers.

Moreover, for the first time in the history of parliament, four minority members will also join the Senate per the 18th Amendment. After their inclusion, the Upper House will have 104 members.On March 2, the polls will be held on 54 seats, including seven general seats, two technocrat seats, two women and one non-Muslim for each province, one general and one technocrat seat from Islamabad and for four seats of FATA.

According to the ECP notification, February 13 and 14 have been fixed as the dates for filing nomination papers with returning officers and February 16 and 17 have been fixed for scrutiny of nomination papers.The notification said candidates could file appeals with the ECP secretary on February 20 and 21 against the decision of the returning officers regarding rejection of nomination papers. Similarly, February 22 and 23 have been fixed for disposal of appeals. – PT