ISLAMABAD: The strict procedure adopted by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for scrutiny of nomination papers has forced mainstream political parties to delay award of tickets to candidates for the May 11 elections.
The deadline for submission of nomination papers was Sunday midnight. But unlike previous elections no mainstream political party, including the PPP and the PML-N, announced its official candidates.
Background interviews with members of the parties have revealed that their leaderships have decided not to announce their final candidates before completion of scrutiny on April 7.
A PML-N member said the parties could finalise their lists of candidates by April 18, the last date for withdrawal of nomination papers. The ECP will allocate election symbols on April 19.
In the past, the political parties used to issue lists containing names of an official and a covering candidate for each constituency much before the filing of nomination papers.
But this time, the parties have directed their members to file nomination papers without waiting for the official lists of candidates. That is why more people have filed nomination papers this time.
The PML-N’s parliamentary board has been meeting in Lahore and Raiwind for the last several days, discussing each and every application for party tickets.
The PPP’s parliamentary board is also in session in Karachi.
So far, only the PML-Q, Awami National Party (ANP) and Jamaat-i-Islami have issued party tickets to their candidates. But they have not issued tickets in all the constituencies because they are still discussing seat adjustment with other political parties.
A spokesman for the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Wasay Jalil, said the party’s Rabita Committee would start its meetings on Monday to finalise its list of candidates. He claimed his party had no worries about the strict scrutiny process because its candidates had a clear past and a clean record.
He said the MQM would announce its candidates in the next four to five days.
Zohair Ashir, secretary of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s parliamentary board, said his party would announce its candidates on April 7.
Imran Khan would preside over the parliamentary board meetings starting from Monday to finalise the party’s candidates, he said.