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Pakistan’s Election Deadline: Nomination Papers Filed

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The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has marked the culmination of the nomination paper filing period for the upcoming general election on February 8. The initial deadline, set for December 20, was extended to facilitate political parties in response to their requests. With just over a month left for the polls, the electoral watchdog shifted into election mode after issuing the election schedule on December 15, ending the uncertainty surrounding the exercise.

As outlined in the schedule, the scrutiny of nomination papers by returning officers (ROs) is slated to take place from December 25 to December 30. The Election Commission emphasized that all activities listed in the election schedule released on December 15 will proceed as planned. Following this, the deadline for filing appeals against the RO’s decisions is January 3, with the appellate tribunal expected to decide on the appeals by January 10. The revised list of candidates will be published on January 11, and candidates will have until January 12 to withdraw their candidature. Election symbols will then be allotted to political parties on January 13, setting the stage for the polls on February 8.

In a separate development, the Election Commission, aligning with a directive from the Supreme Court, postponed hearings on complaints related to delimitation, prioritizing the election schedule to avoid disruptions. The Supreme Court emphasized the significance of general elections as a fundamental democratic principle in its orders.

Several prominent political figures have submitted their nomination papers, underscoring the intensity and anticipation surrounding the upcoming elections. PTI leader Hammad Azhar noted the unique circumstances of filing papers, citing court orders and the intervention of the district election officer in Lahore. The PML-N showcased the submission of Nawaz Sharif’s papers for NA-130 and Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz’s papers for PP-80. Additionally, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari personally submitted his nomination papers for NA-194 and NA-196.

Other notable submissions include PTI’s Murad Saeed for NA-3 and NA-4 in Swat, PML-N’s Shehbaz Sharif for NA-132 and NA-242 (Karachi), and IPP leader Aleem Khan for NA-119. The political landscape is further enriched with candidates like Jibran Nasir, who expressed the belief that politics is the best way to serve and represent the people.

In preparation for the elections, the PPP and the PML-N released lists of their members for reserved seats for women and minorities in the National Assembly. These lists include prominent names from both parties, showcasing their commitment to diversity and representation.

As the election fervor intensifies, the Election Commission’s decision to prioritize the schedule aligns with the democratic principles highlighted by the Supreme Court. The active participation of political leaders in the nomination process underscores the significance of the upcoming general election, promising a dynamic and closely contested political landscape in Pakistan.

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