A total number of 15,629 candidates are contesting the general elections for the National and Provincial Assemblies on 849 general seats while 1,063 candidates are eyeing reserved seats comprising of women and minorities, according to the ECP’s latest data.
Moreover, the electoral body on Wednesday instructed the caretaker governments at the Centre and provinces to declare May 11 as public holiday on account of general elections. The decision is reportedly taken due to security reasons as well in order to encourage ‘maximum’ number of voters to exercise their voting right.“Public holiday would allow everybody to spare some time and cast vote,” an ECP official said. The decision is also linked to the prevailing security situation and taken as precautionary measure, he added.
Furthermore, according to the detailed figures regarding the general polls contestants released by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday, 4,671 candidates are contesting the general elections for 272 constituencies of the National Assembly seats while 10,958 are in race for 577 Provincial Assemblies seats.According to the NA candidates break-up, 2,367 are contesting for 148 general seats from Punjab, 1,087 candidates will fight for 61 NA seats from Sindh, 517 candidates for 35 NA seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 339 candidates for 12 seats from FATA (Federally Administered Trial Areas) while 284 candidates are in race for 14 general seats from Balochistan.
In Punjab Assembly, 5,758 candidates will contest polls for 297 general seats, 2809 candidates for 130 Sindh Assembly seats, 1,438 for 99 KP Assembly seats, while 953 candidates will contest 51 general seats in Balochistan Assembly.On reserved seats for women in NA, 123 candidates are in race from Punjab, 54 from Sindh, 45 from KP and 32 from Balochistan.In Punjab Assembly, 231 women candidates are contesting for seats reserved for them, 127 in Sindh Assembly, 126 in KP Assembly while 75 in Balochistan Assembly.The number of candidates for minorities-reserved seats in the NA is 71, 55 each in Punjab and Sindh Assemblies, 37 in Balochistan and 28 in KP.
The number of nomination papers withdrawn from NA is 2,349 while that of Provincial Assemblies is 5,539. No candidate withdrew nomination papers for women and minorities-reserved seats in the NA, only three candidates for women-reserved seats; two for Balochistan Assembly and one for KP Assembly, withdrew their candidatures whereas the only candidate for minorities-reserved seat to have withdrawn the nomination papers from a Provincial Assembly was Balochistan Assembly’s candidate.
Meanwhile, the Secretary ECP Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan and Director General (Elections), ECP, Syed Sher Afgan visited Printing Corporation of Pakistan (PCP) to monitor the printing process.Following this development, the electoral body released 300 million rupees payable to the PCP for printing 120 million ballot papers of the total 180 million. The Security Printing Press would print the remaining 60 million ballot papers. The NA voters would get half (90 million) of the total ballot papers while the other half would go to the four Provincial Assemblies voters.
The ballot papers printing would be completed by the coming Tuesday after which they would be transported to ECP offices across the country under military’s protection.During the visit to PCP, the Secretary ECP directed that green-coloured ballot papers for the NA be separated from the white-coloured ballot papers designed for the PAs. “This would avoid ambiguity,” he said.The electoral body also paid Rs 250 million to the Punjab Police for purchasing sophisticated security equipment, in connection with the security arrangements for the general polls.The Commission will pay Rs 150 million to NADRA (National Database Registration Authority) in case its designed software for electronic voting facility to overseas Pakistanis is used in the general polls. – Nation