ISLAMABAD, April 24: Over 16,690 candidates are in the run for 1,170 seats of national and provincial assemblies, according to the final list of contestants released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday after disposal of appeals.
The heavyweights in the list include two former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Raja Pervez Ashraf, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan, former chief ministers of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, MQM’s deputy convener Dr Farooq Sattar, former chief ministers of Sindh Qaim Ali Shah and Arbab Ghulam Rahim, former chief ministers of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Amir Haider Hoti, Aftab Ahmad Sherpao, Pir Sabir Shah and Mehtab Ahmad Khan Abbasi and former chief minister of Balochistan Akhtar Mengal.
Other prominent candidates are former leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, former speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Khurshid Kasuri, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Khurshid Shah, Naveed Qamar, Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Ahsan Iqbal, retired Captain Safdar and Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain.
According to the data received by the ECP from provincial election commissions, there were 7,020 candidates for 272 general seats of the National Assembly after disposal of appeals, but 2,349 candidates withdrew their nomination papers, leaving 4,671 in the run. There are 258 candidates for 60 seats reserved for women in the National Assembly. Of them 123 are on 35 seats from Punjab, 58 for 14 seats from Sindh, 45 for eight seats from KP and 32 for three seats from Balochistan.
There are 71 candidates for 10 seats reserved for minorities in the National Assembly.
There are 10,958 candidates for 577 general seats of provincial assemblies, 559 for 128 seats reserved for women and 175 for 23 seats reserved for religious minorities.
There are 5,758 candidates for 297 general seats of the Punjab Assembly, 2,809 for 130 seats of the Sindh Assembly, 1,438 for 99 of the KP Assembly and 953 for 51 of the Balochistan Assembly.
Over 230 candidates are in the run for 66 seats reserved for women in the Punjab Assembly, 127 for 29 seats in the Sindh Assembly, 126 for 22 in the KP Assembly and 75 for 11 in the Balochistan Assembly.
There are 55 candidates in Punjab and Sindh assemblies for eight and nine seats reserved for non-Muslims and for three seats in KP and Balochistan there are 28 and 37 contestants, respectively.
EYE-CATCHING CONTESTS IN PUNJAB: The Punjab which accounts for more than half of the National Assembly constituencies will witness some important and interesting electoral battles.
Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will contest election from NA-51 (Rawalpindi) against former Tehsil Nazim Raja Javed Akhlas (PML-N) and Raja Farhat Fahim Bhatti of the PTI.
Former leader of the opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is contesting for two national and two provincial assembly seats. He will face Basharat Raja, a joint candidate of the PML-Q and the PPP in NA-52 (Rawalpindi), and Ghulam Sarwar Khan of the PTI and Intikhab Hussain Shah of the PPP in NA-53.
PTI chief Imran Khan may give a tough time to Hanif Abbasi of the PML-N in NA-56. Former deputy speaker of the AJK Legislative Assembly Raja Israr Abbasi (PPP) is also in the run for the seat.
Imran Khan is also contesting for NA-1 (Peshawar), NA-71 (Mianwali) and NA-122 (Lahore).
Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi is contesting from NA-61 (Chakwal) against Sardar Mansoor Hayat Tamman (PTI) and Sardar Mumtaz Khan (PML-N). He is also contesting for NA-105 (Gujrat) seat against his traditional rival Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar (PPP).
In NA-106 (Gujrat), former information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira will face Chaudhry Jaffar Iqbal of the PML-N.
PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif is contesting for the National Assembly seats, NA-68 (Sargodha) and NA-120 (Lahore). No prominent leader from any political party is in the run in any of the constituencies.
Former interior minister Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat will contest as an independent candidate. He will face Syed Abid Hussain Imam (PPP), a son of former speaker of the National Assembly Syed Fakhar Imam. Interestingly, Fakhar Imam himself is contesting on PML-N ticket from NA-156 (Khanewal). He will face former minister of state Raza Hayat Hiraj (Independent).
Former information minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan will contest from NA-110 and NA-111 (Sialkot). In NA-110, she will face PML-N leader Khawaja Mohammad Asif.
In NA-117 (Narowal), PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal will contest against singer Abrarul Haq of PTI. Anwarul Haq Chaudhry of the PPP is also in the run.
In NA-148, Ali Moosa Gilani (PPP), a son of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, will face Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi (PTI) and Ghaffar Dogar (PML-N). Abdul Qadir Gilani, another son of Mr Gilani, is contesting from NA-151 (Multan).
In NA-149 (Multan), a prominent Jamaat-i-Islami leader Liaquat Baloch will face Tariq Rasheed of the PML-N and Malik Amir Dogar of the PPP.