PESHAWAR: A day before the expiry of deadline to register as a candidate for by-elections on four vacant National Assembly seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan on Friday filed nomination papers to participate in the Sept 25 electoral contest in two constituencies of Charsadda and Mardan districts.

As Mr Imran has already announced he would run for all nine National Assembly general seats vacated by members of his party, his nomination papers for the remaining two seats, one in Peshawar and the other in Kurram, are likely to be submitted to the respective returning officers today (Saturday).

Former federal minister and central leader of the Awami National Party Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour filed nomination papers for NA-31, Peshawar.

The returning officers of the four constituencies, including NA-22 Mardan, NA-24 Charsadda, NA-31 Peshawar and NA-45 Kurram, have been receiving nomination papers since Aug 10.

Ex-PM likely to submit papers to run for two Peshawar, Kurram seats today

Former federal minister Ali Mohammad Khan along with other PTI leaders submitted papers of Mr Imran in Mardan, whereas former MNA Fazal Mohammad Khan submitted his papers in Charsadda.

Both Ali Mohammad and Fazal Mohammad are also covering candidates for Mr Imran in the two constituencies.

The initial list of contesting candidates will be issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan on Aug 14.

Scrutiny of nomination papers will take place on Aug 17. Last date for the filing of appeals against acceptance or rejection of nomination papers will be Aug 20, whereas the last date for deciding those appeals by the appellate tribunal will be Aug 25.

Last date for the withdrawal of candidature and publication of revised lists will be Aug 27.

The returning officers for the NA general seats will allot symbols to the candidates on Aug 29, whereas polling for those seats will take place on Sept 25.

An MPA from Mardan, Iftikhar Ali Mashwani is the proposer of Mr Imran in his nomination papers filed there, whereas another local leader Adil Nawaz is his seconder.

Similarly, two local leader Asad Ali and Zafar Khan are the proposer and seconders of Mr Imran in Charsadda.

Former MNA Fazal Mohammad Khan, who has vacated the Charsadda seat, came in a procession to file papers of Mr Imran.

He was accompanied by MNA Anwar Taj, MPAs Khalid Khan Mohmand, Arif Ahmadzai, former provincial minister Arshad Umerzai and others.

Fazal Khan told reporters that Mr Imran would be contesting from all the seats in the by-elections and by winning all the nine seats he would prove that he was a popular leader across the country.

He said that by inflicting crushing defeat on leaders of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) during by-elections in Punjab and they would face the same fate on Sep 25.

Distancing his party from the statement of Shahbaz Gill, he said that was not the PTI’s policy.

He said that PDM leaders had also given statements against Army but no action was taken against them.

Meanwhile, Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour filed his papers in Peshawar with scores of ANP leaders and workers accompanying him. He had lost the 2018 general elections to Haji Shaukat of the PTI.

He had also lost to Mr Imran in the 2013 elections but was elected MNA in by-polls, which were held after the PTI chief vacated that seat.

Seven candidates have filed their papers in Kurram district, whereas Mr Imran’s nomination papers are likely to be filed today.

The returning officers appointed by the Election Commission of Pakistan for the said four general seats included Mardan district election commissioner Ziaur Rahim for NA-22, deputy director of the Provincial Election Commission Mohammad Imran for NA-24, deputy director Abdul Qadir for NA-31 and district election commissioner of Mansehra Mohammad Ishaq Khan Marwat for NA-45.

Moreover, the last date for submitting the party priority list of its candidate with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Election Commissioner Mohammad Farid Afridi, who is the returning officer for the seat reserved for women from the province, will also expire today (Saturday).

As the seat was vacated by PTI’s Shandana Gulzar, therefore, it would be filled through a candidate of the same party from the priority list to be provided by the party.

The ECP has already banned postings and transfers of government officers as well as announcing any developmental scheme in the districts and constituencies, respectively, where schedule for by-elections has been issued.

Moreover, the ECP also assigned magisterial powers under the Code of Criminal Procedure to the district returning officers and returning officers appointed to conduct the by-elections.

Those officers will exercise the powers of magistrate first class in respect to different offences provided in sections 169 and 171 of the Elections Act and will try those offences summarily.

Correspondents from Charsadda and Mardan districts also contributed to this report.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2022

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