ISLAMABAD: As many as 78 candidates have so far filed nomination papers across Pakistan for the Senate elections.
According to the statistics, shared by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), nomination papers were collected from across the country for 16 women's seats, whereas papers were submitted for the seats of 14 technocrats and scholars.
Likewise, nomination papers were submitted for 5 non-Muslim seats in the Senate of Pakistan. Four candidates filed nomination papers for the two general and two women seats from Islamabad.
So far, 15 candidates from Punjab, 20 from Sindh and 24 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have filed papers while in Balochistan, 15 candidates filed nomination papers. Javed Aziz Khan from Peshawar adds: As many as 24 candidates of various political parties submitted nomination papers for the Senate elections from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Saturday as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) extended the date for filing papers till February 15.A spokesperson for the ECP said on Saturday afternoon that 12 candidates have so far filed nomination papers for the general seats. He added that five candidates have submitted nomination papers for the reserved seats for women. Also, five contenders have submitted their papers for seats reserved for technocrats while two have filed papers for the slots meant for minorities. "Those who submitted papers for a general seat in Senate include Shibli Faraz, Mohsin Aziz, Faisal Saleem, Zeeshan Khanzada and Aurangzeb of PTI, Maulana Attaur Rehman and Mohammad Tariq Khattak of JUI -F, Farhatullah Babar of PPP, Hidayatullah Khan of ANP, Abbas Afridi of PML-N and two independent candidates. Malik Najibullah Khalil and Nasrullah Wazir," an official informed. Besides, five candidates who submitted papers for seats reserved for technocrats include Hamidul Haq, Farhatullah Babar, Zubair Ali, Nasrullah Wazir and Rehan Alam Khan.
Sania Nishtar, Naeema Kishwar, Tasleem Begum, Farah Khan and Farzana Javed have filed papers for reserved seats for women. Also, two candidates, Gurdeep Singh and Ranjeet Singh, have submitted papers for the one seat reserved for minorities.
After extending the last date of filing nomination papers till February 15, the papers can now be withdrawn until February 25. The polling will be held as per schedule on March 3.
Almost all the political parties have finalized names of their candidates for the general seats as well as those reserved for women, technocrats and minorities. The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Saturday released the list of candidates for the Senate polls from KP. According to the list Shibli Faraz, Mohsin Aziz, Zeeshan Khanzada, Faisal Saleem and Najiullah Khattak are candidates for the general seats in the Senate from KP.
Besides, Dost Mohammad Mahsud and Dr Humayun Mohmand are candidates on seats reserved for technocrats while Dr Sania Nishtar and Falak Naz Chitrali were allotted PTI ticket for women seats and Gurdeep Singh for the seat reserved for minorities. Half of the Senators, 52, are going to complete their six-year tenure on March 6. The new members of the Upper House will be elected from the four provinces and the federal capital, Islamabad.
A number of independent candidates have also obtained nomination papers.
The ECP has set up digital facilitation centres in Peshawar and other provinces for online verification of various documents of candidates from the department concerned. The centres will provide the information to the returning officers. Senate polls remained in news in the past for horse-trading as wealthy candidates approached members of the assembly to buy their vote.
A video of some of the members of the past and current assemblies in KP recently went viral in which they are getting paid ahead of the March 2018 Senate elections. A few of these members have denied the allegations and demanded an inquiry by arguing that the video has been edited. A PTI minister Sultan Mohammad Khan, holding the portfolio of law and parliamentary affairs, had to resign after being sacked by Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan. At the time, he was a lawmaker of Aftab Sherpao’s Qaumi Watan Party (QWP). He later joined the PTI to contest the July 2018 general election for a provincial assembly seat from his native Charsadda district. He won and was made the provincial minister.
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Police, while quoting the initial investigation, ruled out the possibility of any criminal act behind the incident