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Poll prep enters the next phase after nominations are filed

LAHORE/QUETTA/RAWALPINDI/KARACHI: The 2024 general elections entered the next phase after the extended deadline for the submission of nomination papers for the national and provincial constituencies ended on Sunday evening, with a number of prominent politicians having thrown their hats in the electoral ring.

The Election Commission of Pakistan will make public the final list of eligible candidates for the elections after the completion of its scrutiny process in the next few weeks. This means that there is likely to be tough competition in different constituencies.

In Punjab, many candidates and their representatives raced to their respective Returning Officers’ offices to submit nomination papers.

There are reports that Lahore’s 14 NA constituencies and 30 provincial ones attracted as many as 600 nomination papers. Atta Terra (PML-N), Ijaz Andtar (PTI), and Asif Hashmi PPP filed nomination papers in NA-117. Hamza Shehbaz PML-N and Muhammad Madni PTI in NA-118. Maryam Nawza (PML-N), Aleem Khan (IPP), and Hafiz Raf in NA-119. Maryam, Atta, and Sardar Ayaz in NA-120.

Imran Khan, Sardar Khosa, and Azhar Siddique in NA-122, and Hafiz Telha, Shehbaz, and Liaqat in NA123 filed their nomination papers.

Aun Chaudhry and Rana Zamir filed nomination papers in NA-124. Nawaz Sharif, the PML-N’s leader, and Dr Yasmin Rashed, PTI’s leader Yasmin Rashid, have filed nomination papers for NA-130.

There will be tough competition for different seats in Lahore. One political activist said that Ms Rashid could give Nawaz Sharif a tough time in NA-130.

Maryam Nawaz also filed papers in PP 80 (Sargodha). Reports claim that there will be a tough race in NA-82, Sargodha-I, between PML-N nominee Dr Mukhtar Ahmed Bharath and PPP candidate Nadeem Afzal.

In NA-83, there is a contest between Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha (independent) and Aamer Sulaiman Ranjha.

A local political observer told Dawn that “in the absence of PTI, the PML-N has the upper hand in Sargodha.”

Despite the fact that other candidates from other parties have begun to prepare for their election campaigns in Punjab and other provinces, PML-N candidates appear very confident.

Hafiz Mian Nauman, a PMLN candidate for NA-128, the constituency that includes Gulberg and Ichhra, as well as several other Lahore localities, said, “I will win.”

Nauman, who will be facing Salman Akram Raja of the PTI, said that he was confident about his chances. The contest could be difficult. “I am not concerned because we will have an excellent campaign to win this election easily.”

“Without the hustle and bustle”

The process of submitting nomination papers in Rawalpindi was completed on Sunday, but the usual hustle and bustle had been missing.

The nominations of party leaders dominated the first two days. Although the ECP was extended by two days, the ECP offices were less active as people did not have any large rallies.

Rawalpindi district saw 228 candidates submit nomination papers for the seven NA seats and 13 seats of the provincial assembly. For NA-52 (Gujar Khan), 29 people filed nomination papers, including Raja Pervaiz Ashraf; for NA-53, 34 people filed their papers, including Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Ghulam Sarwar and Raja Hamid Nawaz.

For NA-56, nomination papers were filed by 44 people, including Tariq Mehboob, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, and Hanif Abbasi. For NA-57, 40 people filed their nomination papers. Sheikh Rashid Ahmed was among them, as were Tariq Mehboob Kiani, Danyal Chaudhry and Hanif Abbasi.

People associated with PTI kept a low profile, unlike other general elections. Sheikh Rashid submitted his nomination papers via his nephew. He used to bring a large entourage to the RO offices in the past. This time, only PML-N candidates were accompanied by supporters.

“Most PTI candidates submitted nomination papers for city positions and visited the ECP offices without gatherings in order to avoid arrests or snatching nomination papers. “The situation in Rawalpindi is calm and peaceful,” stated PTI leader Raja Tariq Kiani.

Sheikh Rashid Shafique, the nephew of former interior minister Sheikh Rashid, said that PTI president Parvez Elahi had assured him of PTI’s support for two constituencies in the National Assembly. He said that both the PTI & JI would back Sheikh Rashid during the elections.

On the last day for nomination papers, two PMLN leaders, Chaudhry Daneyal, son of Chaudhry Tanveer, and Sajjad Khan, who had submitted nomination papers for NA, filed papers also for seats in provincial assemblies.

Sindh:

Statistics collected by the returning officers of Karachi Division show that a total of 2,850 nomination papers were submitted for 22 NA seats and 47 Sindh Assembly seats in Karachi.

Around 815 nomination papers were filed for 22 seats in the National Assembly, and approximately 2,030 papers were filed for 47 seats in provincial assemblies.

The office of Election Commissioner Sindh was unable to release the consolidated data of nomination papers for Sindh and Karachi before the submission of this report.

MQM-P convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, who is based in Karachi, filed his nomination papers to run for NA-248 Central-II, NA-249 Central-III, and NA-250 Central-IV.

Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, the JI Karachi Chief, filed papers in NA-248 and NA-250. Syed Firdous Shamim Naqvi of PTI and Arshad Vohra of MQM-P submitted papers for NA-248.

Syed Mustafa Kamal, leader of the MQM-P, filed nomination papers in both NA-247 (Keamari-I) and NA-242(West-I). Khawaja Izharul hasan filed papers as well for NA-247. Farooq Sattar also filed nomination papers in NA-244 (West-I). At least 446 nominations were filed in Hyderabad for two NA seats and six seats in the provincial assembly. Syed Hussain Tariq Shah Jamote, PPP leader, and Khawand Jahejo, PTI candidate, will be facing off in NA-218, where Syed Hussain Tariq Shah Jamote leads the PPP.

Mustansir Billa, Mustansir Gul Magsi, Nizam Arain, Mukhtiar Ahmed Dhamrah, Dr Irfan Magsi, Merajul Huda, Mohammad Dilawar Qureshi, Waseem Hussain, and Salahuddin of MQM, as well as their party colleagues Sohail Mehmood, (Mashhadi), and Syed Waseem Hussain, For NA-220 Dr Irfan Gul Magsi of PPP; Nizam Arain, Mukhtiar Ahmad Dhamrah, and Mukhtiar Ali Dhamrah from PTI; Rasheed Ahmed, Khan, Salahuddin and Mohammad Dilawar Qureshi of MQM and Waseem, Hussain, and Abul Khair Zubair, JUP (Noorani), Tahir Majeed and Abul Khair

In Naushahro, Feroze (NA-205), a total number of 28 candidates submitted nomination forms, while in NA-206, a total number of 23 candidates did the same.

Sanghar district saw 32 candidates submit nomination papers for NA-209 and 20 candidates for NA-210. In Shaheed Benazirabad, a total of 17 candidates submitted nomination papers for NA-209, and 19 candidates submitted papers for NA-208. In Umerkot, 91 candidates filed nomination papers for one NA seat and three seats in the provincial assembly.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa:

Azam Swati, Murad Seed and other PTI leaders in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have submitted their papers for NA-3 and NA-4 and NA-15 Mansehra seats.

For the one NA seat in Lakki Marwat, several notables filed their papers, including former ministers Salim Saifullah & Anwar Saifullah; former senator Usman Saifullah; PTI leader Sher Afzal Khan Marwat and JUI-F Maulana Ashjad Mehmood.

In Swabi, Shahnawaz Khan, ANP, and Maulana Ali, JUI-F, both former provincial ministers, submitted their papers for NA-19.

Balochistan:

More than 1,600 Balochistan candidates filed papers for 16 NA seats and 51 seats in the provincial assembly. The deadline for the submission of nomination papers was 4:30 pm. However, candidates who were already present in the office could submit their papers even though the deadline had passed. Since the commission still hasn’t received papers from remote parts of the province, the number of candidates could increase.

PkMAP chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai filed nomination papers for three NA seats, including Quetta and Qila Abdallah. Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani has filed nomination papers for Quetta, Chagai, and Khuzdar, while BNP-M president Akhtar Mengal is contesting the polls in Quetta and Khuzdar.

Sanaullah Zehiri, Nawabzada Lashkri Raisani, Changez Jamali, Nawabzada Aslam Raisani (former CM), Dr Abdul Malik (former CM), and Nawabzada Nawabzada Raisani were also candidates.

Election tribunals

The ECP has also appointed appellate tribunals to hear appeals from the decisions of returning officers about the rejection or acceptance of nomination papers for the general elections in 2024.

Each tribunal will have jurisdiction to hear appeals from the National Assembly, provincial assemblies, and seats reserved for non-Muslims and women.

A notification from the ECP states that 24 tribunals are to be established, nine in Punjab and six in Sindh. Five in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and two in Balochistan, Islamabad and Balochistan.

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