–ROs reject nomination papers of Imran Khan and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for NA-53, Farooq Sattar’s bid for NA-245
–Nominations of Shehbaz Sharif, Imran Khan, Bilawal Bhutto and others accepted in other constituencies
ISLAMABAD: As the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) completed its scrutiny process on Tuesday, nomination papers of certain candidates were rejected by a returning officer of one constituency while accepted by returning officer of another constituency, pointing towards a lack of set standards followed by the commission during the scrutiny process.
During the whole exercise, nomination papers of political bigwigs, including Shehbaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Imran Khan, Yusuf Raza Gilani, Asif Ali Zardari and Farooq Sattar were accepted.
However, ex-premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Imran Khan, former dictator Pervez Musharraf, Farooq Sattar and Ayesha Gulalai weren’t able to qualify for some constituencies.
According to reports, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz and Maryam Nawaz will contest from Lahore’s NA-132 and NA-125, respectively. Maryam is also eligible to contest from PP-173.
The papers of PML-N president and former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif were accepted for NA-192 Dera Ghazi Khan, and his papers were also accepted for NA-3 Swat after his personal assistant appeared before the RO for scrutiny of Sharif’s papers.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s nomination papers for Lahore’s NA-131 and Karachi’s NA-243 were approved after the RO dismissed the objections against his candidacy; however, he can’t contest polls from Islamabad’s NA-53 as “he failed to properly fill out the affidavit to be submitted along with the nomination papers”.
Being a former member of the National Assembly, Khan was required to state his performance of last five years in the affidavit but he failed to do so.
Imran Khan cannot contest elections from Mianwali’s NA-95 either after the RO rejected his nomination papers for being incomplete and providing false information.
The nomination papers of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for NA-158 (Multan-V) were also accepted by the returning officer after Gilani appeared before the RO and submitted a reply to the objections.
Returning officer Chaudhry Ghulam Murtaza, who is also an additional & sessions judge (AD&SJ) Shujabad (Multan-V), rejected the objections raised against his candidature by his political opponents.
The RO also accepted the nomination papers of ex-federal minister Syed Javed Ali Shah, PTI candidate Ibrahim Khan and other candidates.
Moreover, PML-N’s Mehtab Abbasi has also been thrown out of the race for NA-53.
Additionally, the nomination papers of PTI leader Aleem Khan and his wife, Kiran Aleem, have been approved for Lahore’s NA-131 and NA-129, and PP-148, respectively.
Former Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah’s candidacy for NA-106 Faisalabad has also been approved while former federal minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi will be contesting from NA-175 Liaquatpur.
Former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal is qualified to contest from his hometown constituency of NA-78 Narowal. Senior politician Javed Hashmi’s candidature for NA-155 Multan has also been approved.
Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid’s nomination papers were accepted after scrutiny by the RO for Rawalpindi’s NA-60 and NA-62 constituencies.
The nomination papers of Pakistan People Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari were accepted as the returning officer rejected all objections.
Returning Officer Sessions Judge Mehboob Awan rejected all objections raised by Sindh United Party (SUP) leader Falak Sheroo against Zardari nomination papers saying that according to the rules of ECP, Falak had no right to raise objections because he does not live in the respective constituency, i.e., NA-213.
The nomination papers of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari were also accepted, while, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) former chief Farooq Sattar has been allowed to contest polls from NA-241 and NA-247.
Sattar, however, can’t contest elections from NA-245 after the RO rejected his papers over his involvement in two criminal cases.
Besides Sattar, nomination forms of social activist Jibran Nasir were also accepted. Jibran Nasir will be contesting the election as an independent candidate from NA-247 Karachi.
Pak Sarzameen Party’s (PSP) Fauzia Kasuri won’t be able to contest from NA-247 for being a dual national. PSP leader Arshad Vohra is qualified to contest from Karachi’s NA-254 and NA-255.
Moreover, the PS-10 returning officer has rejected the objections of Qadir Bux Bhatti and approved the nomination form of Faryal Talpur, sister PPP chief Asif Zardari, on PS-10, after hearing arguments of both sides on last day of scrutiny held at Ratodero.
Ayesha Gulalai, who was barred from contesting polls in Islamabad, has been allowed to take part in the polls from Sujawal’s NA-263.
Other candidates whose nomination papers have been approved include new member of Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) Zulfiqar Mirza from PS-74 Badin.
The nomination papers of former Jamaat-e-Islami Sindh chief Asadullah Bhutto were also rejected for NA-242 (Karachi) as his name is reportedly on a bank defaulters’ list.
Speaking to the media, Bhutto shared that he will challenge his dismissal. “I am not a defaulter. The bank has made some mistake,” he remarked.
Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai’s nomination papers for Qilla Abdullah’s NA-263 were approved; former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri will contest elections from PB-38 (Khuzdar). Balochistan Assembly’s former speaker Raheela Durrani will try her luck from NA-265.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman will contest polls from NA-38 Dera Ismail Khan while Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) leader Aftab Sherpao qualified for Charsadda’s NA-23.
Former military strongman Musharraf’s nomination papers, filed from Chitral for NA-1, were rejected by RO Mohammad Khan.
Last week, the Supreme Court (SC) had withdrawn its conditional directive allowing former dictator Musharraf to file nomination papers after he failed to appear for a court hearing.
Earlier, the apex court had said that the former army chief’s nomination papers would be received by the returning officer, but only be considered if Musharraf appeared in person at the SC Lahore registry.
Meanwhile, the RO for NA-247 in Karachi had summoned Musharraf to appear in person before 4pm on Tuesday after his lawyers failed to appear for the scrutiny of his nomination papers.
RIGHT TO APPEAL:
The candidates who have been declared ineligible to contest polls can file appeals against rejection of nomination papers by the ROs is June 22. The last date for the decision on the appeals by tribunals is June 27.
The ECP has formed 20 appellate tribunals for disposing of appeals against rejection or acceptance of nomination papers for the upcoming polls.
According to an ECP notification, the tribunals comprise high court judges. Eight tribunals have been constituted for Punjab, six for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, four for Sindh, and two for Balochistan.
The scrutiny of nomination papers to exclude ineligible candidates from the race started last Tuesday, a day after ROs completed the process of receiving nomination papers from prospective candidates.
Revised lists of validly nominated candidates will be published on June 28 whereas the last date for withdrawal of candidature is June 29. The final list of contesting candidates is expected to be published on June 30.