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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Friday, while expressing its reservations over the schedule for the Senate elections, said that it was difficult for the parties to complete formalities and file the nomination papers within two days given by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

A letter written to the ECP by PPP's Secretary-General Nayyar Hussain Bukhari after consultation with the party leadership stated that it was difficult for a federal party such as the PPP to finalise the list of candidates in such a short time, which includes candidates' interviews, scrutiny and other matters, for which the party's parliamentary board needs time.

The letter also stated that all the candidates wanted to file a case before the party leadership and the parliamentary board and the candidates cannot be interviewed before the schedule is released, which is not commendable.

It further stated that everything could not be done in two days.

There are also complications of bank accounts due to global anti-money laundering and it is not possible to open bank accounts in a day or two.

PPP's Secretary-General Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, in a letter to the Chief Election Commission, said that the time allowed by the Election Commission of Pakistan for submission of forms is not enough.

According to the letter, the ECP announced the schedule for elections on February 12 and gave only two days - February 12 and 13 - for the nomination papers to be submitted.

The PPP leader said that a federal party like his needs to conduct an exercise throughout the union council levels to finalise its candidates for the Senate election.

"It involves inviting applications, scrutiny, setting up of parliamentary boards, interviewing candidates before finally awarding them tickets. As the candidates run into hundreds the exercise takes considerable time," he said.

The PPP's secretary-general lamented that interviews could not be held when the schedule is "so cramped", resulting in "disappointment to aspiring candidates".

That apart, he said that the documentation required for submission of nomination forms by candidates is also "very cumbersome" making it difficult to complete all formalities in two days.

"For instance, a candidate is required to open a special bank account for the conduct of elections. Due to international anti-money laundering requirements, the procedure of opening special bank accounts has been made very cumbersome and complicated in itself and requires a separate set of documentation from the candidates," he said.

The PPP leader, in the letter, said that the bank branches send each case to their respective head offices for scrutiny and clearance and it was "simply not possible to get clearance for opening a bank account in one or two days".

"I, therefore, urge the Honourable Chief Election Commissioner to kindly look into and take appropriate steps to redress the situation," Bukhari said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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