General

ECP to accept nomination papers from today after SC suspends LHC verdict

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will start accepting nomination papers for the general elections 2018 from 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 till June 8. 
Speaker of National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and ECP had filed petitions earlier in the day challenging the LHC’s 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.
Nomination papers’ scrutiny 
The nomination papers will be scrutinised on June 14, while appeals against decisions by retuning officers can be filed till June 19, as per ECP. It further stated that 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.
Sadiq announces to challenge LHC verdict 
On Saturday, Sadiq had announced that he is going to challenge Lahore High Court’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.  
ECP summons meeting over LHC, BHC verdicts
On Saturday, the ECP also announced that recent verdicts by the Lahore and Balochistan high courts would be challenged in the Supreme Court following an emergency meeting of the commission.
“The Election Commission of Pakistan has decided to immediately approach the Supreme Court over yesterday’s decision of the Lahore High Court,” Additional Secretary Akhtar Nazeer told reporters.
“The Balochistan High Court has declared delimitation of eight provincial assembly constituencies in Quetta and one in Panjgur null and void. The Election Commission of Pakistan will also immediately approach the Supreme Court on this matter,” Nazeer added while speaking to reporters following the meeting.
ECP Additional Secretary Akhtar Nazeer said returning officers across the country have been asked to not accept any nomination paper on June 3 and June 4. A new schedule would be issued to the returning officers after Supreme Court gives its verdict, the additional secretary added.
However, elections would be held on July 25, regardless, he added.