ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will announce the schedule for presidential election on March 1.

According to a proposed programme, candidates will be able to submit their nomination papers to presiding officer by 12noon on March 2.

In a statement, the ECP said all aspiring candidates can get their nomination papers from the Elec­tion Commission Secretariat in Islamabad and the provincial election commissioners of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

It said that all the assemblies will come into being by February 29 and then the electoral college — required for the election of the President — will be completed.

As per the constitutional mandate outlined in Article 41(4), the election for the president must take place within 30 days after the general elections.

Decision reserved on Nawaz’s plea against Mansehra election result

In another development, the ECP on Tuesday reserved its judgement on PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s plea challenging the victory of PTI candidate from NA-15, Mansehra.

A two-member ECP bench, headed by member from Sindh Nisar Durrani, reserved judgment after conclusion of arguments by PML-N leader’s counsel Javed Jadoon and PTI-backed candidate Shahzada Gustasab Khan’s counsel, Babar Awan.

During the hearing, Mr Nawaz’s counsel argued that the result had been compiled in the absence of forms 45s of 123 polling stations of the constituency situated in far-flung areas.

The counsel also said, “The ballot boxes were not sealed”, adding that this constituency witnessed “greater rigging and vote-tampering than in Daska”.

The RO was booked in the case, but he fell sick and vanished after being shifted to the hospital, he alleged, adding that the counting of votes continued till 4am the next morning. Mr Nawaz’s lawyer termed the election “unconstitutional, illegal, and against election rules”.

ECP member from Punjab Babar Hassan Bharwana inquired if he thought the same regarding the elections held across the country. The PML-N lawyer responded: “I am only talking about the irregularities in the elections held in NA-15,” urging the ECP judges to order a re-election.

PTI candidate’s counsel Mr Awan argued: “If the seals of the bags were broken, then the matter should be sent to the tribunal for investigation. The FIR registered against the RO is not sufficient evidence. The ECP is neither a court nor a tribunal, it cannot record testimonies.”

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2024

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