Pakistan Extends Nomination Deadline for National Election

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has extended the deadline for filing nomination papers for the upcoming national election by two days, providing additional time for candidates, including former Prime Ministers Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif, to enter the race.

Key Figures Yet to Submit Nominations:

Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif had previously stated their intention to submit nomination papers despite bans on their participation due to court convictions. 

The extension allows them to file nominations while awaiting potential relief from higher courts.

Imran Khan Files Papers from Jail:

Imran Khan, currently in jail facing various charges, filed nomination papers for a national assembly seat from his hometown, Mianwali. 

He plans to submit additional papers from Lahore. Despite a court’s rejection of a plea to suspend his disqualification, Khan’s legal team has challenged the decision in the Supreme Court.

Allegations of Coercion and Harassment:

Imran Khan, through his lawyer, raised concerns about “coercive and brutal attempts” to oust candidates from his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), citing arrests, harassment, and the confiscation of nomination papers. 

PTI claimed that some of its candidates’ houses were raided, alleging interference ahead of the elections.

Warning of Political Instability:

Imran Khan warned that a lack of free, fair, and transparent elections could lead to political instability, adversely impacting Pakistan’s economy. 

He emphasized that the PTI’s support for an International Monetary Fund program was contingent on fair elections.

The ECP will continue accepting nomination papers until Sunday, with a final list of qualified candidates scheduled for release on January 11. 

The scrutiny and appeals process will determine the eligibility of candidates to participate in the polls scheduled for February 8, 2024.

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