The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has said that 78 nomination papers were filed on Saturday for the Senate elections scheduled for March 3.

According to the ECP, 43 candidates filed papers for general seats, 16 for reserved seats for women, 14 for technocrats’ seats, including ulema, and five for non-Muslims seats.

It said 24 nomination papers were filed from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 20 from Sindh, 15 each from Punjab and Balochistan and four from the federal capital.

Prominent among those who filed nomination papers were Information Minister Shibli Faraz, Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, PPP parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman, Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwala, Farhatullah Babar and Taj Haider.

The ECP had earlier extended the date for filing nomination papers till Monday (Feb 15). Names of candidates will be published on Feb 16 and the scrutiny of nomination papers will take place on 17 and 18. Appeals against acceptance or rejection of papers can be filed on Feb 19 and Feb 20 and decision on appeals will be announced on Feb 22 and Feb 23. A revised list of candidates will be published on 24.

According to schedule, Feb 25 will be the last date for withdrawal of candidature.

THE CONTROVERSY: Though the Pakistan People’s Party filed a written request for extending date for filing nomination papers, yet it accused the ECP of facilitating the ruling PTI.

PPP secretary general Nayyar Hussain Bukhari said in a statement that he had written a letter to the chief election commissioner (CEC) for extending the date for filing of nomination papers, but he had rejected his request.

He expressed suspicion on CEC’s decision to extend the date a day after refusing his request.

He sought an “explanation” from ECP that why the PPP’s request was rejected and “under whose pressure the date was extended.”

However, ECP Special Secretary Zafar Iqbal said a request for extending the last date for filing of nomination papers was filed by PPP’s Nayyar Bukhari in the evening of Feb 12 after the office hours.

The next day a similar request was made by a representative of the Sindh government. Moreover, some candidates complained of shortage of time and other difficulties on the ECP’s complaint management system, he added.

Zafar said the matter was placed before the ECP which discussed it at length and decided to extend the date for filing nomination papers.

He said the decision was in accordance with Section 128 of the Elections Act, which reads: “The Commission may, for reasons which it considers sufficient, extend the time for completion of an election to the Senate by making necessary amendments in the notification issued under section 107”.


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