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    No mercy in scrutiny of candidates: ECP
    Monday, April 1, 2013 (05:56 PST)

    ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has warned candidates against malpractices, as this time the scrutiny is going to be tough.

    Talking to media persons here on Sunday, ECP Additional Secretary Muhammad Afzal Khan made it clear that there would be merciless scrutiny of candidates' nomination papers."Only those candidates will win who will get the votes from people. No one will be able to get votes on the basis of intimidation," he maintained.

    He said that those exhibiting arms would be sent to jail.The ECP begins the crucial phase of scrutiny of nomination papers from April 1 to April 7, prior to the elections, as Sunday was the last day for filing of the papers by the candidates.

    It is to be seen to what extent the ECP succeeds in barring defaulters, tax evaders and convicts from contesting in the electoral process after having evolved an innovative mechanism. To facilitate candidates, the ECP on Sunday afternoon increased the time for the filing of papers from 4:00pm to 12 midnight. Already, on the request of political parties, the last date for submission of papers had been extended from March 29 to March 31.

    Nomination papers of prominent candidates of political parties, including the PPP, PML-N, PTI and other parties, were submitted on the last day Till the filing of this report, about 10,000 forms were filed: 2,547 processed including 686 from Punjab, 181 from Sindh, 629 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 94 from Balochistan.

    Scrutiny of nomination papers of 650 candidates was conducted and these were sent back to the respective district returning officers. As many as 13,698 persons had submitted nomination papers to take part in the 2008 general election. However, a significant decrease in the number of forms was witnessed this time, mainly because of the anticipated tough scrutiny by the ECP that has evolved an online mechanism, involving the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR), the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

    Unlike the past, there was peace and calm in general at the offices of the district returning officers, as the Election Commission had already warned against candidate against bringing along crowds of supporters or resorting to aerial firing.

    The ECP has set April 10 as the last date for filing of appeals against decisions of the returning officers rejecting or accepting the nomination papers. Election tribunals have been set up to decide the fate of appeals by April 17 while the candidates will be able to withdraw their candidature by April 18. The final list of candidates will released on April 19 and then the political parties will have around 20 days for electioneering to be followed by polling on May 11 for the National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies.

    APP adds: The ECP is likely to finalise a code of conduct formedia covering the upcoming general election. An ECP official told APP that after thorough consultation with representatives of media organisations, the code of conduct for media has got final shape.

    He said Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G Ebrahim and members of the ECP are expected to approve the draft code of conduct today (Monday).He said the code of conduct is based on deliberations between the representatives of the Pakistan Broadcasters Association, PFUJ and other media bodies.

    He said a complaint cell would be established at the ECP that would comprise representatives of the media as well to look into the issues regarding coverage of the general elections. Meanwhile in Quetta, party heads and other senior politicians have submitted their nomination papers to the returning officers.

    Mehmood Khan Achakzai, the chief of the Pashtoonkhawa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), Independent candidate senior lawyer Ali Ahmed Kurd, Hafiz Hamdullah of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Dr. Ruqayya Saeed Hashmi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q), and Mir Maqbool Lehri of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have submitted their nomination papers for the NA-259 Quetta City seat. Hafiz Hussain Ahmed of JUI-F submitted his nomination forms for NA-260 Quetta-Chagai.

    Nawab Ayyaz Khan Jogezai of PkMAP, Malik Abdul Ghaffar Kakar of JUI-N, Mir Liaquat Lehri of PML-N, Haji Abdul Sadique Noorozai of JUI-F and Navid Ahmed of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) submitted their nomination forms for PB-3 Quetta.

    Molvi Khuda'ay Dost of the JUI-F, Manzoor Ahmed Kakar of PkMAP, Haji Abdul Sattar Kakar of the Awami National Party (ANP), Abdul Ghaffar Qambrani of National Party (NP), Abdul Khaliq Hazara of Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), Abdul Wahid Agha of JUI-N submitted their nomination papers for PB-6 Quetta.

    Mir Zarak Zehri, the chief of his own faction of the PML, Akhtar Hussain Langov of Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), Sardar Raza Muhammad of PkMAP, and Farooq Langov of JUI-N submitted their forms for PB-04 Quetta.

    Omar Quresh of PkMAP, Jan Ali Changezi of PPP, Zahiruddin Rajput of PkMAP, Naik Muhammad Kakar of ANP, Tahir Mehmood of PML-N and Saeed Hashmi of PML-Q submitted their papers for PB-1 Quetta.

    Nasrullah Zeeray of PkMAP, Zubair Shah Agha of ANP and Ishaq Shahwani submitted their nomination forms for PB-5 Quetta.The ECP has directed the returning officers (RO) not to refuse issuing or entertaining nomination forms of the persons intending to contest the elections.

    The directive was issued following the complaints that the returning officers were not issuing nomination forms to the candidates on different grounds."However, if at the time of scrutiny, the candidate does not remove deficiencies, the returning officer may proceed in accordance with law," the ECP said.

    All political parties have submitted priority list for reserved seats to the Election Commission of Pakistan.The ECP spokesman said that the political parties had submitted priority list for the national as well as the provincial assemblies.

    He said around 135 candidates have submitted nomination papers for 10 minorities seats in the National Assembly.The Punjab Assembly has eight seats for minorities, Sindh nine and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan three each.

    Courtesy: The News

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