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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan issued the final list of over 9000 candidates running for the upcoming parliamentary elections to be held on January 8, as total 13490 candidates had filed their nomination papers from November 21 to 26 for the national and provincial assemblies.
During the scrutiny of nomination papers from November 27 to December 3, some 12443 papers were passed, while the nominations of 916 candidates including Pakistan Muslim League-N leaders Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif were rejected. The nomination papers of 665 candidates for reserved seats of women and minorities were passed.
The final lists of the candidates were released after withdrawal of papers on December 15. According to the lists, about 9000 candidates would contest the elections for 1070 seats of the national and the four provincial assemblies. In the general elections, more than 81,000,000 voters will cast their votes to elect their representatives for 272 general seats of the National Assembly and 577 seats of all four provincial assemblies.
After the scrutiny of the nomination papers, hearing of appeals and boycotting of the elections by some important political parties, almost half of the candidates have gone out of the race. According to the final list, 34 candidates are running for two National Assembly seats in the federal capital. Initially, a total of 61 nomination papers were found valid for the National Assembly's two general seats from the federal capital.
In Punjab, 3300 candidates are running for the 148 National Assembly (general) and 297 Punjab Assembly seats. Originally, a total of 5954 nomination papers were filed in Punjab out of which papers of 1841 candidates for the NA seats from the province and 2182 papers for the provincial assembly seats were declared as valid.
In Sindh, the final list indicates that 61 NA seats will be contested by 627 candidates. For 139 Sindh Assembly seats, 1468 candidates out of total of 2297 who filed nomination papers are left in the field after withdrawal of 672 contestants. To start with, a total of 3122 nomination papers were found valid by the returning officers out of which 940 were filed for National Assembly seats from Sindh while 2,182 were for the Sindh Assembly seats.
In NWFP, around 2000 candidates will be in the run for the 35 general seats of the National Assembly and 99 provincial assembly seats. Initially, a total of 1983 nomination papers were declared valid by the concerned ROs in NWFP. Out of these 526 were filed for general seats of the province in the National Assembly while 1457 were filed for the general seats in the provincial assembly.
In Balochistan, 142 candidates have been left in the elections race for 14 general National Assembly seats from the province and 541 candidates are running for 51 general provincial assembly seats.
Before withdrawals, a total of 1153 nomination papers filed for the general seats were found valid in the Balochistan province. Out of these nomination papers 254 were filed for the NA seats while 899 were filed for the provincial assembly seats. On the 10 reserved seats of the National Assembly for minorities, 36 candidates belonging to various political parties will contest.
The candidates belong to the Pakistan Muslim League-N, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Pakistan Muslim League-Q, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, Awami National Party, Pakistan People's Party and PPP Sherpao. A total of 39 candidates had filed their nominations for the reserved seats for minorities, out of whom three candidates including Sahab Singh, Peter John Sahotra and Pervez Masih withdrew their nomination papers on Saturday.
The requests form postal ballots will be received until December 18 while the eligible voters would be requited to vote by December 28. For the 272 general seats of the National Assembly and 577 general seats in the four provinces, 47 political parties and several independent candidates are in the race. The PPP, the PML-Q, the PML-N, the MQM, the ANP, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F and other smaller parties are participating in the polls.
Jamaat-i-Islami, JUI-Sami, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf, Pakhtoonkhawa Milli Awami Party, Balochistan National Party-Mengal, National Party and lawyers community have announced to boycott the election. The Election Commission will now concentrate on election arrangements across the country by training the staffers and dispatching necessary materials to the returning officers.
More than 13,000 candidates had filed nomination papers with the returning officers between November 20 to 26 and after going through the scrutiny process and disposal of appeals against acceptance and rejection of the papers, the process reached culmination with the issuance of the final list. The major event followed the issuance of the final list of candidates, is the polling day on January 8 when voters will exercise their right to franchise.
By now, all the major parties are in the run for elections although some small faction opted for boycotting the polls from the All Parties Democratic Alliance. The Pakistan Muslim League-N earlier dissociated with the APDM and decided to contest the elections.
During 2002 elections, more than 10,000 candidates had filed nomination papers but this time this figure was 3000 above than the previous one. During 2008 elections, for the first time the Election Commission would be using transparent ballot boxes and polling screens as thousands booklet are being sent to political parties for education of the polling agents.
The printing of ballot papers will start from today (Monday) and over 85,000,000 ballot papers will be printed for the polls. The election staff across the country has also been imparted necessary training to ensure transparency of the polls.
ECP Secretary Kanwar Muhammad Dilshad said that the printing of ballot papers would be initiated from today and completed on January 5. He said the names of candidates would be printed on ballot papers alphabetically along with their respective election symbols.