A security personnel stands guard at the headquarters of the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad on September 21, 2023. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: Days after endorsing the returning officer's decision to postpone elections in two of Sargodha's National Assembly constituencies, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) overturned its own verdict on Monday.

The electoral authority today (Monday) cancelled the RO's notification of postponing polls in the NA-83 and NA-85 constituencies.

In light of the decision taken by the RO and district returning officer, the ECP earlier postponed the elections in the wake of the death of an independent candidate Sadiq Ali.

The development, however, came after the ECP took notice of an appeal filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha against the RO's decision, stating that the independent candidate died on January 2 and his funeral prayer was offered on January 3.

He added that the news of his death on January 15 is not true. Ranjha alleged that the "fabricated news" of Ali's death was a conspiracy to postpone the election in the constituencies.

The hearing on Ranjha's appeal was held under the chairmanship of Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja today to resolve the matter. The electoral body, therefore, cancelled the RO's notification in light of the evidence.

The CEC said that the general elections in both constituencies will be held on February 8 and that the election process should be continued.

A statement released by the electoral authority said that the independent candidate died on January 15, so the election in both constituencies has been postponed, the new date of the polls will be announced later.

The ECP had also issued notices to the DRO, RO, Imam of the mosque, watchman and patwari (village accountant) at the request of the PML-N leader.

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