ISLAMABAD: A total of 69 candidates will be in the run for 27 reserved seats for technocrat, women, youth, non-Muslims and workers in the Islamabad’s Metropolitan Corporation (MC).
A total of 82 candidates had submitted nomination papers to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Papers of 13 candidates have been rejected on different grounds.
Elections are scheduled on January 16.
“The returning officer has directed the candidates to submit party tickets. As the ECP will allot election symbols and publish final list of candidates on January 7,” said an ECP spokesperson.
Three candidates — Sheikh Ansar Aziz of the PML-N, Nadir Zaib of PTI, and Raja Muhammad Shafaat, an independent candidate — will compete for one seat reserved for technocrat, while 11 will contest for three reserved seats for non-Muslims and 13 candidates for three seats reserved for peasants and workers.
There are 14 candidates for three youth-member seats, and 25 candidates for 17 reserved seats for women.
Second phase of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) local government elections will conclude on January 16 when 50 chairmen of the union councils directly vote to elect candidates on reserved seats. First ever local bodies’ elections in Islamabad were held on November 29, 2015.
The ruling PML-N has secured 20 seats of UC chairmen, followed by PTI at 16 and independents at 14. Later the PML-N managed to woo support of nine independent candidates coming in a position to take significant majority in MC.
Third and final phase will be the election of mayor and three deputy mayors. Schedule for Mayor’s election is yet to be announced.
However, the lobbying is on for the slot. Rumour has it that Sheikh Ansar Aziz, who is contesting elections on reserved seat for technocrat, will be the ruling party’s mayoral candidate as well.
A member of the central working committee of the PML-N, Aziz is a businessman. He hails from Sargodha and currently lives in Islamabad.
Aziz’s family enjoys long association with the PML-N. He is said to be close to the PM. Aziz has already been awarded party ticket for the seat of technocrat on reserved seats, which he has submitted to the returning officer.
On the other hand, the PTI will also compete for the capital’s mayorship. Ali Nawaz Awan and Raja Khurram, both elected UC chairmen, are lobbying within the party for the slot.
A PTI spokesperson said that the party would award tickets for reserved seats today (Wednesday).
Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2016.
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