Pak polls: Ashraf out, Sharif in, Hina not in race

ashraf, sharif, hina
Islamabad, April 8: Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf's nomination papers for a parliamentary constituency in Rawalpindi were rejected by authorities yesterday even as the Election Commission completed the verification of nominations of 24,094 candidates contesting the May 11 polls.

Ashraf's nomination papers were rejected after he was accused of misappropriating funds and indulging in nepotism.

The Pakistan People's Party leader is facing allegations of corruption in clearing rental power projects.
While rejecting Ashraf's papers, the Returning Officer said the former premier did not fulfil the criteria of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, which state that a candidate should have a "good character".

In Lahore, a Returning Officer accepted former premier and PML-N party chief Nawaz Sharif's nomination papers for a parliamentary seat and declared him eligible for contesting the polls. All objections against Sharif were rejected by the Returning Officer.

The Election Commission completed the verification of nominations of 24,094 candidates contesting the polls to the national and provincial assemblies.

The papers, verified and processed by several departments as part of the overall scrutiny process, were sent to Returning Officers for a final decision.

The Returning Officers carried out scrutiny and announced decisions on the nomination papers, clearing a majority of the stalwarts of political parties while rejecting papers of those who did not fulfil the requirements.
Out of total nominations, 7,364 were received for National Assembly constituencies and 16,730 for provincial assemblies.

Polling will be held in May for 272 general seats of the National Assembly and 577 of the four provincial assemblies.

The Election Commission was assisted in processing the nomination papers by the National Database and Registration Authority, State Bank of Pakistan, National Accountability Bureau and Federal Board of Revenue.
The seven-day period for scrutiny ended yesterday and the candidates will have three days for filing appeals against the decisions of Returning Officers.

Nine election tribunals have been constituted for hearing appeals against the acceptance or rejection of nomination papers.

The tribunals will decide the appeals by April 17 and candidates can withdraw their nominations till April 18.
The Election Commission will publish the final list of candidates on April 19.

The May 11 general election will mark the first democratic transition in Pakistan's 66-year history.

Hina Rabbani Khar not to contest

Meanwhile, former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar is unlikely to contest polls to parliament as her father is a candidate for the National Assembly constituency that she represented earlier.

The nomination papers of Khar's father, Ghulam Rabbani Khar, for parliamentary constituency number 177 in Punjab province have been approved by poll authorities.

At the age of 34, Khar became Pakistan's youngest and first woman Foreign Minister in 2011.

Khar was quoted by The Express Tribune as saying that she had only "applied as a covering candidate to my father". As her father's papers had been cleared, Khar told the daily that "would be that for her political career for now". Khar has also not applied for a parliamentary seat reserved for women on a Pakistan People's Party ticket. "That continues to be the position," she said.

Khar's father is not a graduate and rules that were in place at the time of the 2008 general election barred him from contesting polls. Under new rules, it is no longer mandatory for candidates to be graduates and he decided to contest the polls.

There has been speculation in political circles in Islamabad since 2012 that Khar would not contest the upcoming polls and would make way for her father to make a fresh bid to enter the National Assembly or lower house of parliament.


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