KARACHI: The Election Commission of Pakistan has received a total of 1,900 nomination papers for the 21 National Assembly and 44 Sindh Assembly seats in Karachi.
The applicants, who belong to various political parties fighting for space in the metropolis, also include the chiefs of six political parties – Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Imran Khan, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Mustafa Kamal, Shahbaz Sharif and Pervez Musharraf.
The upcoming general elections promise exciting contests between seasoned politicians as they eye the grand prize of holding a seat in the legislature from the country’s economic hub. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo Shahbaz Sharif will face Pakistan Peoples Party’s Abdul Qadir Patel; Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Salman Mujahid Baloch and Awami National Party’s Shahi Syed; and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Syed Hafeezuddin and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s Maulana Shirin Muhammad in NA-248, 249 and 250, respectively.
Elections for NA-247 will see a tough fight between Mustafa Kamal, Arif Alvi, Pervez Musharraf, Farooq Sattar, civil activist Jibran Nasir, Aziz Memon and Javed Hanif.
A provincial constituency will also see an electoral contest between a father and his son. PPP’s K.S. Baloch has been allotted the party ticket for PS-115, where he will likely contest the election against his son, the MQM-P’s Salman Mujahid Baloch.
PML N’s senator Saleem Zia and MQM’s Mehfooz Yar Khan have also been placed to compete against Bilawal Bhutto, while the ANP for the first time has given election tickets to female candidates.
A cut-throat competition is expected between MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Mohajir Quomi Movement’s Afaq Ahmed. Both have filed nomination papers for elections in NA 254, whereas Arshad Vohra is representing Pak Sarzameen Party. A similar battle is expected to ensue in NA 243 where MQM’s Khawaja Izharul Hasan, PPP’s Shahla Raza and PTI’s Imran Khan are expected to compete.
Elections for NA 253 will see competition between Mustafa Kamal, Maulana Tanvirul Haq Thanvi and other candidates. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui is also a candidate for NA 255.
Renowned actor Ayub Khosa will represent Peoples Party in PS-101. General elections for NA-244 and PS-104 will see independent candidate Tariq Afridi. PSP’s Syed Qamar Akhtar Naqvi has filed for NA 254 while PPP’s Imran Haider Abidi has will compete for NA-239.
Of the total 1,900 applications, 460 candidates are contesting elections in District East, 117 of whom have filed nomination papers for National Assembly and 343 for provincial assembly seats. In District West, the applications count for national and provincial seats stands at 195 and 142, respectively. Meanwhile, over 250 applications were received in District South – 190 for the National Assembly and 67 for the provincial legislature. In District Korangi, the distribution for national and provincial forms was 89 and 185 respectively. Another 568 applications were filed from district Malir, with 89 applicants filing for the National Assembly and 479 filing for the provincial assembly.
Taking note of the response, the ECP had extended Monday’s deadline for submission of nomination papers by another two hours.
Nomination papers for Shahbaz Sharif were also submitted at the eleventh hour.
ECP has sent the credentials of the candidates to NAB, FBR and State Bank for final clearance. Dozens of candidates may be screened if they are classified under the State Bank’s defaulter list. Scrutiny of the nomination papers will be completed by June 19 as per the ECP schedule. Objections against the decisions of the returning officers can be filed up to June 22. The final candidate list will be published after the verdicts for appeals have been given by June 27.