Presidential polls: Zardari, Achakzai set for showdown as ECP approves nomination papers

Nausheen Yusuf
PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari (left) and Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) Chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai. — PPI/Facebook/Mahmood Khan Achakzai/File
PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari (left) and Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) Chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai. — PPI/Facebook/Mahmood Khan Achakzai/File
  • ECP bars media coverage of scrutiny process of nomination papers.
  • Presidential polls slated for March 9 in NA, provincial assemblies.
  • Voting to be conducted via secret ballot from 10am to 4 pm.

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), as per the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders, has approved the nomination papers of Asif Ali Zardari and Mahmood Khan Achakzai for the presidential elections.

"No objection was raised on the nomination papers of Zardari," said PPP's Farooq H Naek while speaking to the media in Islamabad.

Whereas PTI's Amir Dogar, flanked by Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Achakzai and Ali Muhammad Khan, also announced that the electoral body has approved the nomination papers of the Sunni Ittehad Council's (SIC) candidate for the office of the head of state.

Meanwhile, the ECP has barred the media from the coverage of the scrutiny process of nomination papers filed for the presidential elections slated for March 9.

As per the schedule issued by the electoral body, the scrutiny of the nomination papers is to culminate today after which the ECP will publish a list of nominated candidates.

Next comes the voting phase which will be held on March 9 from 10am to 4pm in NA and all the provincial assemblies.

According to the Second Schedule, the chief election commissioner will serve as the returning officer for the election whereas presiding officers appointed by the ECP will preside over the presidential election that will see members of the National Assembly, Senate and all four provincial assemblies voting to elect the head of the state.

The Senate and the NA vote on the basis of one member, one vote but the four provincial assemblies follow a different formula.

Due to being the smallest legislature, only the Balochistan Assembly gets a one-member, one-vote option as it essentially sets the standard for how the votes are divided in the other three provincial assemblies — whose votes are counted by dividing them by the total strength of the Balochistan Assembly (which has 65 numbers).

The voting for the presidential polls will be conducted via secret ballot meaning that each member will vote by marking the ballot papers which will have the names of all the candidates in alphabetical order. The vote will then be deposited in a ballot box placed in front of the presiding officer.

Once the voting has concluded, the presiding officer will, in the presence of such of the candidates or their authorised representatives, open and empty the ballot boxes and examine the ballot papers.