The Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) deadline for filing nomination papers for the February 8 general election ended today (Sunday) at 4:30pm.

With little than over a month left for polls, the electoral watchdog has entered election mode. On December 15, the commission issued the election schedule, putting an end to uncertainty surrounding the exercise.

As per the original schedule, the process to file nomination papers for national and provincial assemblies seats commenced on Dec 20 and was set to end at 4:30pm on Friday.

However, the electoral watchdog later extended the deadline till today. In a statement, the ECP said the decision was taken in response to requests from political parties and to facilitate the candidacy process.

“Political parties must submit priority lists for specific seats to returning officers within the stipulated time,” it said.

Returning officers (ROs) will examine the nomination papers from Dec 25 to Dec 30, as specified in the schedule. The statement underscored that “all activities as listed in the election schedule released on Dec 15 will be held as planned”.

According to the schedule released by the ECP, the last date for filing appeals against the RO’s decision to reject or accept nomination papers is January 3 with the last date for deciding the appeals by an appellate tribunal on Jan 10.

The revised list of candidates will be published on Jan 11 and the last date for withdrawing one’s candidature is Jan 12. Election symbols will be allotted to political parties on Jan 13 with polls set for Feb 8.

Separately, Radio Pakistan reported that the electoral watchdog had decided to postpone hearing complaints relating to delimitation, “prioritising election schedule in line with Supreme Court’s directive to avoid disruptions”.

“In its orders, the ECP said that the Supreme Court has underscored the importance of general elections as a fundamental democratic principle,” the report said.

Candidates file nomination papers

Earlier today, PTI leader Hammad Azhar said he had “finally” submitted his papers after “order from the court and intervention by the district election officer of Lahore”.

“Interesting aspect to note was that police had the fullest intention to defy court orders had the election officer not come himself to the premises,” he said.

The PTI also said that Murad Saeed’s nomination papers were submitted for NA-3 and NA-4 in Swat.

The PML-N also reposted a video by PML-N Lawyers’ Forum representative Rafaqat Dogar submitting Nawaz Sharif’s papers for NA-130.

The party also reposted photos of Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz’s nomination papers being submitted for PP-80.

The PPP said that Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had submitted his nomination papers for NA-194 and NA-196. The party said Bilawal “personally delivered” his nomination documents to the ROs in Larkana and Qamber-Shahdadkot.

Lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir said he had submitted his nomination papers for NA-241 and PS-110. He said that politics was the best way to serve and represent the people.

He said that all candidates should be allowed to contest polls without any coercion and fear.

A day earlier, PML-N’s Shehbaz Sharif filed his nomination papers for NA-132 and NA-242 (Karachi) and Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party (IPP) leader Aleem Khan for NA-119.

PML-N Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz filed her papers from NA-119 and NA-120. PTI’s Ahmar Bhatti filed papers for PP-165.

PML-N leader Attaullah Tarar filed papers for NA-117, NA-120 and NA-127. 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.

PPP, PML-N issue lists of members for reserved seats

Meanwhile, the PPP and the PML-N also released the lists of their members for the reserved seats for women and minorities in the National Assembly.

The PPP’s list of minority members included Ramesh Lal, Naveed Aamir Jeeva, Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Lal Chand Ukrani, Imran Afique Athwal, Naseeb Chand, Jaffar George, Basroo Jee, Adven Masih and Beari Lal.

Its member list for the reserved seats for women included Shazia Marri, Nafeesa Shah, Shagufta Jumani, Shahida Rehmani, Shehla Raza, Mehtab Akbar Rashidi, Musarrat Rafique Mahesar, Mehreen Razaque Bhutto, Shazia Sobia Aslam Soomro, Naz Baloch, Sehar Kamran Mudassir, Sharmila Sabehah Farooqi and Shazia Nizamani.

The PML-N’s list for reserved seats for women included Tahira Aurangzeb, Shaista Pervaiz, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Nuzhat Sadiq, Musarrat Asif Khawaja, Seema Jillani, Shaza Khawaja, Romina Khursheed Alam, Wajeeha Qamar, Zeb Jaffar, Kiran Dar, Anusha Rahman Khan, Zahra Wadood Fatemi, Asiya Naz Tanoli, Saba Sadiq, Farah Naz Akbar, Shahnaz Saleem, Muneeba Iqbal, Iffat Naeem and Tamkeen Akhtar Niazi.

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