Lahore - The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Monday rejected former finance minister Ishaq Dar’s nomination papers for the upcoming Senate elections.

The commission rejected the papers of the senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader as rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf challenged his nomination over corruption charges.

The nominations on behalf of the close relative of Sharifs have been submitted from Punjab province in two different categories –a general seat and a technocrat seat.

“It’s utterly shameful to learn that PML-N has nominated a plunderer like Dar for senate elections,” the PTI had stated.

Last year, Dar was declared an absconder by an accountability court in a corruption reference filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau. Dar is in London for medical treatment.

Before the commission, the PTI questioned the signature of Dar on the nomination papers which have been verified by the Pakistan High Commission instead of the Foreign Ministry.

A newly opened bank account of Dar was also objected on the ground that that it could be opened only when a person was physically present while a person declared absconder by the court was also not entitled to get the bank account.

Under the declaration for the Senate election, it is mandatory of a candidate to open a fresh bank account for the purpose of spending on the election and Dar being a proclaimed offender was not  entitled to it while his previous accounts frozen under the court order. The RO of the commission gave time to Dar’s counsel to provide certified copy of the accounts but he failed.

The other PML-N candidates whose nomination papers have been rejected are Hafiz Abdul Karim, Bilal Butt and Usman Khan. An independent candidate Sarfraz Qureshi is also restrained from the Senate contest.

The commission accepted the nomination papers of PML-N candidates Dr Asif Kirmani, PM Special Assistant Haroon Akhtar Khan, former Sindh IGP Rana Maqbool Ahmad, Karman Michael, Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, PM spokesman Musaddaq Malik, PML-N UK President Zubair Gull, Overseas Pakistanis Commission Vice Chairman Sheheen Khalid Butt, PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s sister Saadia Khaqan Abbasi, Rana Mahmoodul Hassan, Shakeel Awan, Samiullah Ch, Shiza Fitma, and ex-MNA Ch Naseem Bhutta.

Nomination papers of PTI’s Andleeb Abbas, former Punjab governor Ch Sarwar and Hamid Meraj were accepted while PML-Q’s Kamil Ali Agha and PPP’s Hina Rabbani Khar and Shehzad Khan were allowed to contest the polls.

According to The Express Tribune, the ECP extended the scrutiny time for the provinces of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) for the upcoming Senate elections to 12:00 midnight. In a notice, the ECP wrote that the delay was “due to late submissions of details of dual nationality holders by the Ministry of Interior.”

The ECP has received 34 nomination papers from Punjab, eight from Islamabad, 34 from KP, 28 from Balochistan and 49 from Sindh, and nine from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Radio Pakistan reports.

In Islamabad, Returning Officer Zafar Iqbal is carrying out the scrutiny in the presence of candidates and their representatives.

In Karachi, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) candidates for technocrats and women’s seats were present before Returning Officer Muhammad Yousuf Khattak for scrutiny of nomination papers. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani and other party leaders accompanied the candidates.

According to commission officials in KP, scrutiny of nomination papers of 20 candidates for seven general seats was completed. The process for seats reserved for technocrats was completed a day earlier. The scrutiny of nomination papers for two women’s seats is in progress.

Those who have submitted nomination papers from Balochistan include Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Amir Afzal Khan, National Party’s Muhammad Akram, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s Maulvi Faiz Muhammad, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party’s Muhammad Yousaf Khan Kakar and Sardar Shafiq Khan Tareen, Balochistan National Party-Mengal’s Hamayun Aziz Kurd and Awami National Party’s Nizamuddin Kakar. Independent candidates Muhammad Sadiq Sanjarani, Ahmed Khan, Abdul Qadir, Alauddin, Anwarul Haq Kakar, Kauda Babar, Hussain and Fateh Muhammad Baloch are also in the field.

Our Staff Reporter from Islamabad adds, the commission accepted Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan Deputy Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui as the bona fide leader to allocate party tickets for the upcoming Senate elections.

Siddiqui signed the nomination papers and during the scrutiny, MQM-P’s Barrister Farogh Naseem told the election commissioner that the party constitution permitted the Rabita Committee to issue tickets and not the chief.

Barrister Naseem, who is also a Rabita Committee’s nominee, read the party’s constitution before the commission officials, saying: “It is Rabita Committee’s prerogative to take such decisions.”

Rabita Committee appointed Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui as its convener in place of Farooq Sattar, and Sattar dissolved the committee and announced fresh intra-party elections to be held on February 17 (Saturday).