More than 20 candidates of various political parties and independents on Tuesday submitted their nomination papers for the by-elections in nine National Assembly constituencies in Karachi to be held on March 16.
The nine seats fell vacant after the acceptance of the resignations of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNAs. Today (Wednesday) is the last day for submitting nomination papers. So far, a total of 26 nomination papers have been filed after as many as 140 candidates acquired nomination papers for the by-elections.
On Tuesday, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) Sheikh Salahuddin submitted his nomination papers for NA-254 and another leader of the party Fayyaz Qaimkhani submitted his papers for NA-250.
In the 2018 general elections, Salahuddin was the runner-up in NA-254 after securing 48,813 votes and Qaimkhani was also the runner-up in NA-250 where he bagged 29086 votes. According to an official statement issued by the MQM-P, its senior deputy convener Mustafa Kamal will submit his nomination papers for NA-256 and NA-247 today. Similarly, another senior deputy convener of the party Dr Farooq Sattar will file his papers for NA-252 and NA-254.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Aftab Hussain Siddiqui also submitted his nomination papers for NA-247. In the 2018 general elections, Dr Arif Alvi, the incumbent president of the country, was elected an MNA from NA- 247 but he vacated his seat after elected to the office of the president.
In the by-election in NA-247, the PTI retained the seat and Siddiqui was elected. After resigning from the seat, and he will be contesting it again in the by-poll. It is expected that the former PTI MNAs will again contest their respective constituencies in the by-polls.
Similarly, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Khawaja Sohail Mansoor submitted his nomination papers to contest the upcoming by-election in NA-256. After receiving his nomination papers, the electoral staff has set the time of 1pm on Friday for the scrutiny of his nomination papers.
Talking to the media after submitting his nomination papers, the PPP leader expressed gratitude to PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari for reposing confidence in him by awarding the party ticket to contest the by-poll.
Mansoor said that he had been a native of the constituency for long. He said that he had sought forgiveness from people for his past association with the MQM that lasted 36 years. He said the MQM had done nothing in the past for the development of the areas of the constituency in District Central.
He conceded that civic conditions had gone from bad to worse in the past days. He said the Sindh government had spent Rs440 million to develop District Central.
PPP leader Faizan Rawat submitted the nomination papers to contest the by-election in NA-254. He said the people in the last general elections had overwhelmingly voted in favour of the PTI but their candidates from Karachi after winning the polls never come back to their constituencies.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, the nine constituencies where the by-polls would be held in Karachi include NA-241 Korangi III, NA-247 South II, NA-242 East-1, NA-243 East II, NA-244 East III, NA-250 West III, NA-252 West V, NA-254 Central II and NA-256 Central IV.
The preliminary list of the candidates will be released on February 9 and the documents will be scrutinised on February 13. Appeals against the approved and rejected nomination papers will be filed by February 16 and decisions will be made by February 20, while the revised list of candidates will be issued on February 21.
The candidates will be allowed to withdraw their nomination papers by February 22, after which the final list will be issued. On February 23, the election symbols will be allotted to the candidates and the by-elections will be held on March 16.