Pak elections: Shehbaz, Bilawal lose security deposit

Shehbaz Sharif

Islamabad: PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif and chairman of the PPP Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari are among the candidates whose security deposit will be forfeited for failing to get 25 per cent of the total votes polled in their constituencies in the 25 July elections, according to a media report today.

A total of 3,355 candidates from various political parties contested on the 272 open seats of the National Assembly (NA) elections, in which Prime Minister-in waiting Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i Insaaf (PTI) emerged as single largest party by winning 116 seats.

Around 85 per cent, 2,870 out of 3,355 contestants, including chiefs of 10 political parties, have failed to obtain even the mandatory 25 per cent of the total votes polled in their constituencies and now face forfeiture of their security deposit, also called as the nomination fee, the Dawn reported.

Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari

A candidate, contesting on a NA seat, has to deposit Rs 30,000 as nomination fee while filing their nomination papers.

Apart from Shehbaz and Bilawal, the chiefs of other political party whose security money will be forfeited include the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal’s (MMA) Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party’s (PkMAP) Mehmood Khan Achakzai, the Baloch National Movement’s (BNM) Dr Abdul Baloch and the Qaumi Watan Party’s (QWP) Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, it said.

Also, Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) president Mustafa Kamal, Taraqqi Pasand Party (TPP) chief Qadir Magsi, chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI-Gulalai) Ayesha Gulalai and Pakistan Awami Raaj (PAR) president Jamshed Dasti are on the list of candidates who are facing forfeiture of nomination fee under the Elections Act, the report said.

According to the Act, a candidate has to obtain 25 per cent of the total polled votes to qualify for a refund of the nomination fee. Earlier, it was one-eighth of the total vote, the change was made in an apparent move to discourage non-serious candidates, it said.

The ratio of forfeitures was highest in FATA (95.48 pc), followed by Islamabad (92.42 pc), Balochistan (91.98 pc) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (86.13pc), while it was lowest in Sindh (84.46 pc) and Punjab (84.46 pc), the report said.

Former jailed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s brother, Shehbaz could get only 22,766 of the total 161,872 polled votes in Swat (NA-3), and will lose his security deposit.

Bilawal will not get refund of his nomination fee that he had deposited for contesting from Malakand (NA-8) and Karachi (NA-246). MMA chief Rahman and QWP president Sherpao faced embarrassment in their hometowns of Dera Ismail Khan (NA-38) and Charsadda (NA-23), respectively, as they failed to get 25 per cent of the total polled votes, it said.

Former MQM convener Sattar also lost his nomination fee for failing to garner even one-fourth of the votes polled in NA-245 and NA-247 constituencies of Karachi, which is said to be the stronghold of the party, the report said.