ECP begins accepting nomination papers after SC suspends LHC verdict

ECP begins accepting nomination papers after SC suspends LHC verdict

LAHORE: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) began accepting nomination papers for the General Elections 2018 today after the Supreme Court overruled the Lahore High Court's (LHC) order for amendments to the document. 

LHC, on Friday, had ruled that the nomination forms of the electoral candidates did not seek necessary information and declarations such as details on educational background, criminal record, and dual citizenship. The court ordered ECP to again add the requirements of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution to the nomination papers. 

The Supreme Court, however, on Sunday suspended the LHC's verdict that nullified nomination forms of electoral candidates for the upcoming general elections.

ECP will continue to receive the nomination papers, in compliance with the approved format in the Election Act 2017, from June 4 till June 8. However, each candidate will submit an affidavit for Article 62 and 63, along with the nomination papers.  

The affidavit will include details about holding foreign passports, dual nationality, and any criminal cases against the candidates.    

The nomination papers will be scrutinised on June 14, while appeals against decisions by returning officers can be filed till June 19, as per ECP. 

The appeal tribunal will wind up requests by June 26 and a day later, on June 27, candidates’ list would be displayed again.

The candidates will then have time until June 28 to withdraw their nomination papers, after which a new list — with election symbols — would be issued on June 29.

Petitions against LHC ruling

During the court proceedings on Sunday, the petitioners' counsel had stated that LHC’s decision on nomination forms would delay elections, adding that they took the matter to Supreme Court as they did not want elections to be postponed. 

The counsel added that the elections are feared to be delayed as the filing of nomination papers has been put on hold following LHC’s ruling. Earlier, the nomination papers were to be filed between June 2 and 6.

However, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had remarked that elections would be conducted as per the schedule – on July 25. 

According to ECP, the initial list of candidates will be released on June 8, while dates for other developments regarding elections would remain unchanged.

Sadiq announces to challenge LHC verdict 

On Saturday, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq had announced his decision tochallenge LHC's decision in relation to the nomination papers.

Sadiq, while speaking to media, said that all the parties in the parliament approved Election Reform Act.

He said that as the custodian of the assembly it is his responsibility that he should file a petition against the decision of the single bench and declare it void.

Sadiq said that due to the ECP forming new forms can delay the elections, therefore, he will appeal that the said date should not be changed so elections can he held on time.

He further said that similar conspiracies against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz even took place in 2002 but they will not be successful.