Sunday Mar 31, 2013

ECP extends deadline to file nomination forms till midnight

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has extended the deadline for candidates to file nomination forms till midnight.

Earlier candidates had until 4:00 PM to file their nomination forms.

The ECP will start scrutiny of the nomination papers from tomorrow (Monday) and has asked different organisations to provide a list of those defaulting on their dues.

The ECP had revised the schedule for the general elections, setting a new deadline of March 31 for submitting nomination papers.
In the second phase, the ECP would carry out the scrutiny of nomination papers from April 1 to 7.

The ECP has set April 10 as the deadline for the filing of appeals against decisions of the returning officers rejecting or accepting the nomination papers.

The Election Tribunals will decide the fate of these appeals by April 17. The candidates will be allowed to withdraw their nominations by April 18.

After a thorough scrutiny, the ECP will publish the final revised list of candidates on April 19 which will follow the holding of elections on May 11, according to the schedule.

Meanwhile, in a notification, the ECP has asked the Water and Power Development Authority, Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited, Sui Southern Gas Pipeline Limited, the National Telecommunication Cooperation, Ministry of Housing and Works and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to provide details of defaulters.

The notification has also been forwarded to the administrations of the Punjab House, KPK House, Sindh House and Balochistan House to provide details of those owing amounts.

Moreover, the private utility organisations have also been asked to provide list of defaulters as it would help the ECP for the scrutiny of the nomination papers of the candidates.

Separately, the ECP directed all returning officers to disqualify candidates displaying lethal weapons and carrying out aerial firing while submitting nomination papers.

"It has been noticed that while filing nomination papers, the supporters of candidates display lethal weapons and carry out aerial firing that is a clear violation of the code of conduct issued by the Election Commission" said an ECP official talking to APP.

He said according to the Code of Conduct issued by the ECP, "There will be a complete ban on the carrying and display of all kinds of weapons and fire arms in public meetings and processions, as well as on polling day and till 24 hours after the consolidation of official results by the returning officer," the official observed.

He said aerial firing, the use of crackers and other explosives at public meetings and at or near polling stations are also banned.

The official said all the district returning officers and returning officers have been asked to ensure compliance and implementation of the Code of Conduct.

Meanwhile, the ECP relaxed the condition of opening new bank accounts for prospective election candidates to justify the election expenditures within the announced limits.

According to the spokesman, the ECP has decided that all the prospective candidates who would file nomination papers on March 31, 2013 may either provide the number of their existing account in any bank, if any, or open a new bank account and provide that number to the returning officers concerned on the day of scrutiny of their nomination papers.

He said the decision has been taken following calls the ECP had been receiving from candidates that it was not possible for them to open new bank accounts on March 31, 2013, being Sunday, the weekly holiday for banks.

The candidates said that they could not indicate the account number in the relevant column of the nomination form on the last date fixed for the purpose with the returning officers concerned.

According to a press release, the ECP has also allowed all contesting candidates to include or transfer their names in the electoral list of their choicest constituency.

Complying with the directions of Lahore High Court issued recently, directing that the names of candidates should be included/ transferred even after the announcement of the election schedule, the ECP has directed Regional/ District Election Commissioners (Registration Officers) to either enter or transfer their names in the voter list of any constituency of their choice.

The extracts will be issued to such applicants on showing the receipt of filing the nomination papers.