KARACHI: The chiefs of the two major political parties, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), on Thursday submitted their nomination forms to contest the upcoming general elections on the National and Provincial Assembly seats from Karachi.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari appeared before the Returning Officer Ramesh Kumar, an additional district and sessions judge for district south in Karachi, to submit his nomination forms to contest the polls from NA-246, Lyari.

The young chairman of the party aspires to contest the first-ever parliamentary elections of his political career from his party’s dominant National Assembly constituency from where his mother Benazir Bhutto and his father Asif Ali Zardari had emerged victorious in the general elections of 1988 and 1990, respectively.

Bilawal was flanked by former senator Farooq H. Naek along with Nabeel Gabol, Nadia Gabol and a large number of his party supporters.

Sources told Dawn that the PPP chairman submitted two forms for the same constituency in an attempt to make sure that in case one form was rejected for any reason the other could be accepted, adding he deposited an amount of Rs30,000 for one form.

Clad in the traditional shalwar-kameez, the young politician looked excited as he climbed up to the third floor in the judicial complex, as his supporters shouted slogans of Jeay Bhutto and showered him with rose petals.

“It is very happy moment that also refreshes various memories of the past,” the young politician told reporters in a packed room, when asked about his feelings to contest his political career’s first election from the constituency from where his mother and father both had won in the past, as he submitted the election nomination forms.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari vowed to strive to complete the mission his slain mother had left incomplete, as she was killed in a suicide attack days before the parliamentary elections were due after her return to the country, ending year-long self-exile.

“I think I’m entering into the parliamentary politicians,” he said.

“After many years there would be a Bhutto in the National Assembly, who can [better] defend the country’s national interests and can [better] defend the democracy,” he added citing his victory in the polls.

The PPP chairman further said he would try his best to serve the people of Karachi, Larkana and rest of the country. The returning officer summoned him on June 11 for security of his nomination papers.

Earlier, Mr Bhutto-Zardari paid a visit to his future electoral constituency of Lyari, which has remained infested with war between gangsters for years.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan also submitted his nomination forms through his party leaders to contest the upcoming elections from the National Assembly constituency — NA-243 — and Provincial Assembly constituency PS-101.

The returning officer initially returned the documents, as the some papers were not signed by the candidate while others were not duly attested.

However, the party leaders submitted his nomination papers after removing the objection. The RO summoned Mr Khan on June 12 for scrutiny of his nomination papers.

Meanwhile, the PTI’s Arif Alvi and Faisal Vawda also filed nomination forms to contest from the NA-245 and NA-249 while Khurrum Sher Zaman submitted nomination forms to contest from the PS-110.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Merajul Huda filed his nomination papers to contest on the NA-256 while the Haider Abbas Rizvi filed forms to contest on the NA-243.

Awami National Party’s Shahi Syed filed his nomination form to contest the July 25 general elections from the National Assembly seat — NA-250.

Pak Sarzameen Party chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal filed his nomination form to contest the upcoming general election on two National Assembly and two Provincial Assembly seats, including NA-247, NA-253, PS-126 and PS-127. PSP’s Advocate Hassan Sabir filed forms to contest on the NA-243 and PS-101.

The Grand Democratic Alliance’s Irfanullah Marwat also filed form to contest the polls on Provincial Assembly seat — PS-104.

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2018