Pakistan's election process formally kicks off



Islamabad: The Election Commission of Pakistan on Sunday formally kicked off the process for the May 11 parliamentary polls with the issuance of nomination papers across the country, local media reported.

Thousands of intending candidates have started receiving nomination papers from the offices of the commission, officials said.

The candidates will start to submit nomination papers from Sunday until March 29, according to the schedule. The scrutiny of the nomination papers will be held on March 30-April 5.

Appeals against the acceptance and rejection of nomination papers will be filed on April 9. Decisions on appeals will be announced on April 16 by the tribunals.

The candidates can withdraw papers by April 17 and a final list of the candidates will be issued on April 18. Polling for the 342- member National Assembly or Lower House of the parliament and four provincial assemblies will be held on the same day on May 11.

The commission said that the program will also apply to the seats reserved for women and non-Muslims in the National Assembly and provincial assemblies.

The Election Commission also issued the total number of registered voters in the country until March 20. All candidates will have nearly 20 days for election campaign. Dozens of major political and religious parties are taking part in the elections.

The chief election commissioner is presiding over an important meeting of the panel to name the country's caretaker prime minister.

The commission will make a decision after a deadlock between the former ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League.

The panel started consultation process on Saturday but could not take a decision due to the absence of a member from the meeting.

(ANI)