The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) revealed on Wednesday that over 7,000 candidates have pulled out of next month’s general elections, leaving 16,692 to contest the polls for national, provincial and reserved seats for women and minorities.
According to details, 24,094 nomination papers were found valid by the election authorities. However, 7,402 candidates decided to withdraw their papers. Interestingly, none of the candidates whose nomination papers were found valid after the disposal of appeals for reserved seats for women in the National Assembly withdrew from the race.
A total of 258 women candidates would be in the field. Of them, 123 are from Punjab, 58 from Sindh, 45 from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and 32 from Balochistan.
Among those contesting for minority seats, only one candidate withdrew his nomination. He was vying for a seat in the Balochistan Assembly.
Of the total 246 minority candidates, 71 have filed nominations for National Assembly, 55 for Punjab Assembly, 55 for Sindh Assembly, 28 for K-P Assembly and 37 for Balochistan Assembly.
The 342-member National Assembly has 272 general seats on which registered voters cast their ballots while 60 seats are reserved for women and 10 for religious minorities.
The ECP has found 7,020 valid nomination papers after the disposal of appeals for the National Assembly and after withdrawal of 2,349 nominations, 4,671 candidates are left in the field.
According to details, 51 out of 128 valid nomination papers received by the ECP for two seats of Islamabad have been withdrawn, leaving 77 in the race.
For 148 general seats of Punjab in the National Assembly, 3,569 nominations were filed. Of them, 1,202 pulled out of the race, leaving 2,367 contestants in the field.
For 61 general seats of Sindh, 1,635 candidates initially filed nomination papers. However, 548 withdrew their nominations, leaving 1,087 contestants left in the field.
Similarly, for 35 general seats of K-P, 861 nominations were found valid. Of them, 344 withdrew from the race. For 10 FATA seats, 339 nominations were filed – 69 pulled out from the race.
Four hundred and nineteen candidates had filed nominations for 14 general seats of Balochistan in the National Assembly. Of them, 135 nominations were withdrawn and now 284 candidates are in the field.
The 371-member Punjab Assembly has a total of 297 general seats for which the ECP had received 8,610 valid papers. However, 2,852 withdrew their nominations, leaving 5,758 contestants in the race.
The K-P Assembly has 99 general seats. Initially, 2,339 nominations were filed for these seats. After the withdrawal of 901 nomination papers, 1,438 candidates will be contesting the May 11 elections.
For 130 general seats of the Sindh Assembly, 4,181candidates filed their nominations – 1,372 pulled out of the race and now 2,809 politicians will be contesting the elections.
Similarly, 1,367 nominations were found valid after the disposal of appeals for 51 general seats of the Balochistan Assembly. After the withdrawal of 414 nomination papers 953 contestants have been left in the feild.
Reserved seats for women
Three women candidates – one from K-P and two from Balochistan –have withdrawn their nomination papers filed for reserved seats. The number of women candidates in Punjab is 231, in Sindh 127, in K-P 126 and in Balochistan 75.
71 minority candidates filed nominations for National Assembly, of them
55 are for Punjab Assembly
55 for Sindh Assembly
28 for K-P Assembly, and
37 for Balochistan Assembly
4,671 candidates will be contesting for 272 general seats in the National Assembly
77 candidates have been left in
the field for two National Assembly seats from Islamabad after 51 nominations were withdrawn
258 women candidates would be in the field. Of them,
123 are from Punjab,
58 from Sindh
45 from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and
32 from Balochistan
Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2013.