PESHAWAR: A total of 40 nomination papers, including four submitted by former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan, were accepted by the relevant returning officers for by-election on four general seats of the National Assembly from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The returning officers on Wednesday released lists of validly nominated candidates according to which six nomination papers were accepted for NA-22 Mardan, nine each for NA-24 Charsadda and NA-31 Peshawar and 16 for NA-45 Kurram.

Only a single nomination paper was rejected in Peshawar, which was that of former senator and Awami National Party leader Ilyas Ahmad Bilour.

The paper of Mr Bilour, who intended to be covering candidate of his brother and former federal minister, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, was rejected as his proposer was not registered as a voter in the NA-31 constituency.

Imran Khan cleared for Sept 25 vote in Mardan, Charsadda, Kurram and Peshawar

An official of the Election Commission of Pakistan told Dawn that no objection was filed against candidature of the former prime minister, so his all nomination papers were accepted by the respective returning officers.

The last date for filing appeals against acceptance or rejection of nomination papers will be August 20, whereas the last date for deciding the appeals by the appellate tribunal will be August 25.

The last date for the withdrawal of candidature and publication of revised lists will be August 27. The returning officers for general seats will allot symbols to the candidates on August 29, while the polling will take place on Sept 25.

Five National Assembly seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including four general and one reserved for women, had fallen vacant last month after the Speaker accepted the resignations of the respective members from the PTI.

Those whose papers were accepted in Mardan include former premier Imran, former MNA Ali Mohammad Khan, who had vacated the seat, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam leader Mohammad Qasim, who was the runner-up in the 2018 general elections, Mohammad Sarwar, Abdul Wasi and Ghulam Rasool.

Among the candidates for NA-24 Charsadda are Mr Imran, former MNA Fazal Mohammad Khan, Awami Naional Party provincial chief Aimal Wali Khan, ANP leader Shakeel Bashir Khan, Azizullah Khan, Falak Niaz, Fawad Ahmad, Mujeebur Rehman and Sparlay Mohmand.

Similarly, the candidates for NA-31 Peshawar include ex-PM Imran, former federal minister and ANP leader Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, former MNA Shaukat Ali, who had vacated this seat, Saeedullah Khan, Shaukat Ali, Abdul Qadir, Emran Khan, Mohammad Aslam and Mohammad Ashraf Dar.

Haji Ghulam Bilour, who had won the National Assembly seat from the area five times, had lost the 2018 general elections to PTI’s Shaukat Ali. He had also lost to Mr Imran in 2013 general polls but won the seat in by-polls, which were held after the PTI chief vacated the seat.

The candidates for NA-45 Kurram election are Mr Imran, former MNA Fakhar Zaman of PTI, Mohammad Zahir Shah, Jamil Khan, Sarfaraz Khan, Abdul Khaliq, Shah Nawaz Khan, Khalilur Rehman, Abdul Qadir, Mohammad Shoaib, Sadiq Khan, Sher Mohammad Khan, Jahanzeb, Niaz Badshah, Eid Gul Mengal and Saifullah Khan.

All four former MNAs, who had vacated these four seats, are the covering candidates of Mr Imran in the by-polls.

Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Election Commissioner Mohammad Farid Afridi, who is the returning officer for a seat reserved for women from the province, accepted nomination papers filed by three women candidates, including former MNA Shandana Gulzar Khan, who had vacated the seat by resigning, Mahvesh Ali Khan and Roheela Hamid. As the seat was vacated by the PTI, it will be filled by one of the nominees from the priority list provided by the party.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2022

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