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PML-N denies boycotting Punjab elections

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Claim: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has announced they will boycott elections in Punjab, which were scheduled to be held on 14 May 2023 as per court orders.

Fact: PML-N has not announced a boycott of the upcoming Punjab elections. 

Fact or Fiction?

On 20 April 2023, the Facebook page Pakistantopup shared a claim that the ruling party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has announced to boycott the Punjab elections scheduled to be held on 14 May 2023.

الیکشن کا بائیکاٹ، مسلم لیگ ن نے کسی امیدوار کو ٹکٹ جاری نہ کرنے کا فیصلہ کیا ہے۔ [Election boycott, Muslim League-N has decided not to issue ticket to any candidate],” the post reads.

Soch Fact Check got in touch with PML-N leader Mohammad Zubair, who denied the claims about PML-N boycotting elections. 

“First of all we don’t know when elections will be held. So until we don’t know the election date, this decision that we will boycott cannot be reached. It looks like elections will be held at the same time [for all assemblies] in October then there is no question about a boycott,” he said.

Zubair said that PML-N’s parliamentary board, responsible for candidates’ selection for Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was announced when the election date was set on 30 April.

“We told our members that whoever wants to contest elections should submit their papers like other parties did. The party then has some time to determine its official candidates. For example, Maryam Nawaz filed her papers for four constituencies – three from Lahore and one from Gujranwala and so did some other candidates,” he added.

He said that the matter went to the Supreme Court, and there’s no clarity on whether elections will be held or not. 

On 4 April 2023, the Supreme Court declared that the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to postpone polls in two provinces, Punjab and KP, till 8 October 2023 was “unconstitutional” and fixed  14 May as the date for polls in Punjab.

“First the date was set on 30 April 30 then 14 May, even today as we talk, it’s not clear when the elections will take place that is why the party obviously has not finalised its candidates,” he added.

Zubair said that in many constituencies, candidates are already determined, but in others, they will be finalised after discussions. 

“I don’t think elections will be held in May, that is why we [PML-N] are not in a hurry to decide our candidates,” he concluded.

PML-N’s MNA Maiza Hameed told Soch Fact Check, “PML-N has not announced boycott of elections however our stance remains that they should be conducted all at the same time.”

In January, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) dissolved the Punjab and KP provincial assemblies in a bid to demand early national elections. 

The constitution of Pakistan binds the ECP to hold elections within 90 days of the dissolution of a legislative assembly.

Earlier, 20 April was the last day for candidates to submit their party tickets to the ECP for the allocation of party symbols. The election commission then extended it till midnight of 26 April.

For the Punjab elections, PTI has issued a list of ticket holders, and PPP has also issued tickets to its candidates. However, PML-N and PML-Q have not issued party tickets yet.

Virality:

The claim was posted by Capital TV, Dunya News and Bol News on YouTube.

It was also shared by News 360 on their website.

Conclusion: PML-N has not announced to boycott Punjab elections. 

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