LAHORE - With only few days remaining in the filing of nomination papers, political parties seem to be in a state of utter confusion over award of party tickets to their candidates.

It is mainly because of the indecision by the parties over tickets distribution that Election Commission of Pakistan had to extend the date for filing of nomination papers for two days.

Though the parties have asked the aspirants to file nomination papers with the Commission without waiting for the party tickets, the candidates are in a state of dilemma. Due to the tight election schedule, the period of election campaign has already been squeezed to 21 days only.

Instead of going to their constituencies to start the electioneering, they are running from pillar to post to seek a confirmed ticket

It has been learnt that political parties would finalise their lists for most of the constituencies by April 17th, the last date for candidates to inform the Commission about their political affiliation. The Commission would then display the final list on April 19th.

This was not the case in 2008 elections. All major parties had then announced their candidates before the last date for filing of the nomination papers.

Is it the PTI factor this time forcing the parties to keep their ‘cards’ close to their chest as long as possible? Why is this confusion this time around? What the political parties are waiting for?

This scribe talked to some candidates from all parties to seek answers to these questions. They identified two main reasons behind the delay in finalisation of tickets: strategic and internal wrangling.

For most of the constituencies, they said, that the parties are waiting for their rivals to make their candidates public and then to announce their own panels of candidates accordingly.

In some constituencies, however, there is a tough competition among electables and the leadership is finding it hard to take some decision, they said.

Political analysts, have, however, also added another factor which was missing in 2008. They believe that major parties, especially the PPP and PML-N are waiting to see Imran’s panel of candidates in certain constituencies to decide about their candidates.

Though the PPP has completed the process of interviews of its prospective candidates, a few have been given a go-ahead signal to file nomination papers. Many hopefuls have been asked to wait for a week to enable the leadership to reach some decision.

The PML-N’s Parliamentary Board headed by party chief Mian Nawaz Sharif met on Thursday to finalise tickets for candidates. Amid clashes among the aspirants at party’s Model Town office, the leadership decided to keep decision on many constituencies pending.

The PTI, MQM, JUI-F, JI and other parties are also in the process of finalising their candidates.

The PML-Q, on the other hand, is leading from the front as far as award of party tickets is concerned. It claims to have distributed 97 tickets for the National Assembly and 160 for the Provincial Assembly seats in Punjab.