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Fake election schedule goes viral on social media

The ECP officially announced election schedule on 16 December

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Claim: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued the schedule for the upcoming general elections, scheduled for 8 February 2024.

Fact: In a press release, on December 10, 2023, the ECP clarified that the schedule circulating on social media is false. The schedule was officially released on 16 December. 

Fact or Fiction?

On 10 December 2023, the Facebook page News Updates claimed the ECP announced the election schedule for the upcoming polls scheduled for 8 February 2024.

The post is accompanied by the following caption:

الیکشن کمیشن آف پاکستان نے ملک میں آئندہ عام انتخابات کا شیڈول جاری کر دیا، ملک بھر میں انتخابات 8 فروری 2024 کو منعقد ہوں گے۔ الیکشن کمیشن سے جاری اعلامیہ کے مطابق عام انتخابات کے لیے 20 سے 25 دسمبر تک امیدوار کاغذات نامزدگی جمع کراسکیں گے، امیدواروں کے ناموں کی فہرست 27 دسمبر کو جاری کی جائے گی، یکم جنوری سے 6 جنوری 2024ء تک کاغذات نامزدگی کی جانچ پڑتال ہوگی۔

الیکشن کمیشن کی جانب سے بتایا جارہا ہے کہ 9 جنوری 2024ء کو کاغذات کی منظوری اور مسترد ہونے پر اپیلوں کی سماعت ہوگی، 11 جنوری 2024ء کو اپیلوں پر اپیلٹ اتھارٹی کے فیصلوں کا آخری روز ہوگا، 15 جنوری 2024 کو امیدواروں کی نظرثانی فہرست جاری کی جائے گی۔ معلوم ہوا ہے کہ 16 جنوری 2024ء کو کاغذات نامزدگی واپس لینے کی آخری تاریخ ہوگی، 17 جنوری 2024ء کو امیدواروں کو انتخابی نشان الاٹ ہوں گے جب کہ آئندہ عام انتخابات کے لیے پولنگ 8 فروری 2024ء بروز جمعرات کو ہوگی۔”

[The Election Commission of Pakistan has released the schedule for the upcoming general elections in the country, the elections will be held on February 8, 2024 across the country. According to the announcement issued by the Election Commission, candidates will be able to submit nomination papers for the general elections from December 20 to 25, the list of candidates’ names will be released on December 27, and the nomination papers will be scrutinized from January 1 to January 6, 2024. It is being told by the Election Commission that on January 9, 2024, the appeals will be heard on the approval and rejection of the papers, January 11, 2024, will be the last day for the decisions of the appellate authority on the appeals, and on January 15, 2024, the revised list of candidates will be released. It has been learned that January 16, 2024, will be the last date for withdrawing nomination papers, election symbols will be allotted to the candidates on January 17, 2024, while polling for the next general elections will be held on Thursday, February 8, 2024]

The election schedule is a detailed plan and timeline outlining key dates, such as voter registration deadlines, nomination submission dates for candidates, campaign periods, polling days, and result announcements.

Soch Fact Check found the claim to be misleading. We reached out to the ECP who shared a press release with us, issued on 10 December 2023 which stated that “the election schedule circulating in the media is fake”.

On 16 December, ECP released the much-awaited schedule after a directive from the Supreme Court mandated the Commission to announce the schedule promptly.

Following are the key dates mentioned in the schedule: 

  • Nomination papers submission: December 20 to 22
  • Preliminary list of candidates: December 23
  • Scrutiny of nomination papers: December 24 to 30
  • Appeals against scrutiny decisions: January 3
  • Election appellate tribunals’ decisions: January 10
  • Revised list of candidates: January 11
  • Last date for withdrawal of nomination papers: January 12
  • Final list of candidates: January 12
  • Election symbols allotment: January 13
  • Polling day: February 8

Soch Fact Check compared the election schedule circulating on social media and the one released by the ECP. We found the following differences between the two:

  • The fake schedule mentions 20 to 25 December as the date for the submission of nomination papers. In the original schedule it is from 20 to 22 December. 
  • The fake schedule lists 27 December as the date for releasing the preliminary list of candidates, while the original schedule states 23 December.
  • The fake schedule indicates that scrutiny of nomination papers will be from 1 to 6 January, whereas the real one states it from 24 to 30 December.
  • In the fake schedule, appeals against scrutiny decisions will be on 9 January, with tribunal decisions on 11 January. In the real schedule, appeals are on 3 January, with tribunal decisions on 10 January.
  • The fake schedule states 15 January as the date of release of a revised list of candidates and 16 January as the last date for the withdrawal of nomination papers while the real schedule states 11 and 12 January, respectively, as the date for this.
  • The fake schedule finalises the list on 17 January, with symbol allotment on the same day. In contrast, the real schedule finalises the list and assigns symbols both on 12 January.
  • The polling day remains consistent in both schedules, set for 8 February.

It is noteworthy that the  ECP issued a revised schedule on 22 December which is as follows:

  • Nomination papers submission: Now open till December 24
  • Preliminary list of candidates: December 24
  • Scrutiny of nomination papers: December 25 to 30
  • Appeals against scrutiny decisions: January 3
  • Election appellate tribunals’ decisions: January 10
  • Revised list of candidates: January 11
  • Last date for withdrawal of nomination papers: January 12
  • Final list of candidates: January 12
  • Election symbols allotment: January 13
  • Polling day: February 8

Virality:

The claim can be found here, here and here on Facebook.

On X (formerly Twitter), it was shared here, here, here , here and here.

Conclusion: A fake election schedule for the upcoming general elections went viral on social media before the ECP released the schedule on 16 December.


To appeal against our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com 

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