Waseem Ahmad Shah
PESHAWAR: The provincial election commissioner on Monday turned down around 100 nomination papers filed against seats reserved for women in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly as their names were not present in the priority lists submitted by their respective political parties.
An official at the PEC office said around 229 nomination papers were filed against 22 seats reserved for women in the provincial assembly, but political parties had submitted names of 128 candidates in their priority lists, the submission of which was mandatory under the Representation of People’s Act.
Provincial election commissioner Sono Khan Baloch, who is returning officer for the reserved seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, began scrutiny of rest of the 128 nomination papers filed for women reserved seats in the provincial assembly. He conducted scrutiny of around 90 nomination papers which all were cleared.
The commissioner will continue the scrutiny today (Tuesday), whereas scrutiny of papers filed against seats reserved for National Assembly from KP and those reserved for minorities in the provincial assembly will be conducted on April 3 and 4, respectively. The Election Commission of Pakistan had fixed March 31 for submission of priority lists by political parties.
Under Section 47A of the Representation of People’s Act, it is mandatory for political parties to submit separate lists of their candidates in order of priority for seats reserved for women and non-Muslim. These seats are filled through proportional representation in accordance with the number of general seats won by a political party. The submission of these lists resulted in controversies among the candidates and those who were left out by their respective political parties. Several of the women were seen exchanging hot words with each other and criticising nomination papers, especially in PTI and PPP.
Some of the members of PPP were complaining that the name of former MPA Nighat Orakzai was placed at serial number one of the priority list of women reserved seats for provincial assembly, whereas she was a new entrant to the party.
Furthermore, they said the name of another new entrant, Shazia Aurangzeb, was placed at number two for women reserved seat for National Assembly, which was an injustice to the old party workers. Interestingly, some political parties are overoptimistic about their position in the polls and have submitted lists carrying a large number of candidates. Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) has named 23 candidates against 22 seats reserved for women in the provincial assembly.
Similarly, Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) has named 22 candidates for the said category, whereas Awami National Party (ANP) has given names of 21 candidates.
Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz included 15 names; Pakistan People’s Party named 14, and Jamaat-i-Islami and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) named 12 candidates each.
Interestingly, while there are only three seats reserved for non-Muslims the PML-N has named 8 candidates, PPP has given names of five candidates, PTI and JI named four candidates each whereas QWP gave names of three persons. ANP and JUI-F both named two candidates each.
Similarly, against eight seats reserved for women in the National Assembly from KP, PPP has named 10 candidates. JI and JUI-F named eight candidates each; PTI has given names of seven candidates; ANP named four candidates, whereas PML-N and QWP named three and two candidates, respectively.
One of the candidates, who was on lower in the list, said political parties had tried to make a fool of their candidates by including their names in the lists but at a lower number where their becoming an MPA or MNA was next to impossible.
A PTI candidate on much lower number in the list told Dawn that naming 23 candidates against 22 seats by her party was a big joke with them. She said that the number of candidates named by PTI, JUI and ANP were contrary to ground realities as it was unrealistic to believe that any of these parties would win all the 99 general seats in the provincial assembly following which all the reserved seats would go to them.