LAHORE: As the two-day extended period is scheduled to end on Sunday (today), activities related to receipt and filing of nomination papers picked momentum on Saturday with filing of papers by the former premier and top PML-N leader Shehbaz Sharif, his niece Maryam Nawaz Sharif and receipt of papers by the Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and several other political leaders.

According to reports, Shehbaz Sharif filed his nomination papers for NA-132 and NA-242 (Karachi) and Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party top-tier leader Aleem Khan for NA-119. While PML-N Supreme Leader Nawaz Sharif is reportedly set to submit his papers for NA-130 (Lahore), Mr Bhutto-Zardari also obtained papers from the returning officer to contest elections also from NA-128.

IPP’s President Aleem Khan filed his nomination papers for NA-119, PML-N Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz filed her papers from NA-119 and NA-120. Shehbaz Sharif is also expected to file papers for NA-123, PP-158 and 164 and NA-132. PTI’s Ahmar Bhatti filed papers for PP-165.

“Today we have submitted papers of Ms Maryam Nawaz Sharif for both NA constituencies of Lahore — NA-119 and NA-120, said Khawaja Imran Nazir,” Lahore’s second-tier leader while talking to media after submitting documents on behalf of Ms Maryam.

Shehbaz, Maryam, Aleem Khan submit papers; Bilawal, several others obtain forms

“Maryam Nawaz will also be candidate for PP-159 and PP-160. However, the final decision to retain or leave any of the above constituencies will be decided at a later stage,” he added. “Wherever, she will contest, there would be Sher (PML-N’s Lion symbol),” he said.

On the other hand, the PML-N leader Attaullah Tarar filed papers for NA-117, NA-120 and NA-127. The PML-Q’s Chaudhry Shafay Hussain filed papers for NA-31 and PP-32 while Auan Chaudhry of IPP filed papers for the NA seat in Lahore. Jamat-i-Islami’s Ameerul Azem filed papers for NA-126. Chaudhry Pervaiz Elehi’s wife filed papers for her husband’s contest from PP-32 (Gujrat). IPP’s Patron in Chief filed papers for NA-155 and NA-149.

“Till Saturday afternoon, as many as 110 candidates filed papers for NA seats in Lahore alone,” said an official source.

In the Faislabad division, the candidates who filed papers for various constituencies included Shakil Shahid, Zafar Iqbal, Ihsaan Afzal Khan, Rana Sikandar, Sahibzada Hamid Raza, Kashif Altaf, Shahjahan Khan, Asifullah Bukhari, Riza Ahmad, Haidar Ali Khan.

In Multan, Dr Safdar Hasahmi of JI filed paper from NA-149, followed by PML-N’s Sardar Abdul Aziz Dareshak from PP-295, Sardar Yousaf Khan from PP-296, Sardar Dr Hafeez Ur Rehman from NA-188. From NA-295, Chaudhry Masood Akhtar filed papers as independent candidate while Sardra Yousaf Khan Gabol of PPP filed papers for PP-295 and PP-296.

Several candidates also filed paper for various NA and PA constituencies. These included Nadeem Afzal Chan (PPP), Naeem Haider Punjutha (PTI), Rao Abdul Qayyum of JUI and Dr Mukhtar Ahmad Bharath from NA-82 (Sargodha-1). Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha of PML-1, Usama Mela and Aamer Sultan Cheema filed papers for NA-83 (Sargodha-2) while Tasneem Ahmad Qureshi (PPP), Chaudhry Hamid Hameed (PML-N) and Mumtaz Ahmad Kahilon filed papers for NA-84 (Sargodha-3).

Dr Zufikar Bhatti and Aamer Sultan Cheema filed papers for NA-85. Muneeb Sultan Cheema and Sahibzada Naeem ud din Sialvi filed papers or NA-86 (Sargodha-5) as independent candidates.

In Peshawar, PTI’s Shandana Gulzar filed her papers to contest elections in NA-30 (Peshawar-3) while Sher Afazl Marwat reportedly filed papers for NA-32 (Peshawar).

ECP issues code of conduct

Meanwhile, the ECP has issued code of conduct for national media (including observers) covering the GE-2023 related activities.

According to code of conduct, during election campaign, the content floated on print, electronic and digital media, shall not reflect any opinion prejudicial to the ideology, sovereignty, uprightness or security of Pakistan, public order or the integrity and independence of the judiciary of Pakistan.

“Allegations and statements which may harm national solidarity or may create law and order situation during election campaign and on polling day shall be strictly avoided on print & electronic media and by any media person, newspaper and channel operating official account on digital media and other social media influencers,” read the code.

“The content on print & electronic media, any media person, newspaper, channel operating official accounts on digital media and social media influencers shall not include any aspect which might be construed as personal attack on candidates or political parties on the basis of gender, religion, sect, caste, baradari etc. In case of violation, the victim may complain and take legal action on appropriate forum,” it explained.

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2023

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