Objections to nomination papers are not the same as nomination papers being rejected
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Imran Khan, and Maryam Nawaz face objections to their candidacies but their nomination papers were not rejected.
Claim: The nomination papers of key political leaders Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Imran Khan, and Maryam Nawaz were rejected by the Election Commission of Pakistan
Fact: The politicians face objections to their candidacies, but their nomination papers were not rejected. The returning officers have scheduled detailed scrutinies of their nominations.
On 27 December 2023, Soch Fact Check received a screenshot of a news update published on X (formerly Twitter) by Capital TV claiming that Bilawal Bhutto’s nomination papers were rejected by the returning officer (RO). The update read, “Bilawal Bhutto’s nomination papers from NA 127 Lahore have been rejected”.
The same day, Bol News uploaded a video on YouTube with the title: “Imran Khan, Maryam Nawaz And Bilawal Bhutto Nomination Papers Rejected | Breaking News”.
Fact or Fiction?
To verify the authenticity of the screenshot, Soch Fact Check searched for the original news update by Capital TV on X (formerly Twitter). However, we have yet to find any such post on the official account or on their website. There was also no mention of Bilawal Bhutto’s nomination papers being rejected on their YouTube channel and Facebook page. Therefore, the screenshot was either doctored or has since been deleted by Capital TV without issuing any correction or clarification.
The claim is false. Although it is true that objections hit key political figures Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Imran Khan, and Maryam Nawaz during the most recent round of nomination scrutiny, it’s important to clarify that this scrutiny doesn’t immediately equate to the rejection of any of these politicians’ nomination papers. However, failure to address the highlighted discrepancy to the Election Commission’s satisfaction could lead to future rejection.
Khan’s NA-122 candidacy faced heat as PML-N’s Mian Naseer alleged Toshakhana case convictions, improper attestation, and non-local seconder. Khan’s past ECP conviction stirred eligibility concerns countered by a pending Lahore High Court case. Further proceedings are scheduled, after which the ECP will reach a final verdict.
Bilawal Bhutto’s nomination for NA-127 faced a formal objection raised by Muhammad Ayaz, a resident of Lahore. Ayaz asserted that Bilawal had indicated his affiliation with the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) in his candidacy documents while holding the position of chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Consequently, the Returning Officer (RO) scheduled a thorough scrutiny of Bilawal’s candidacy. In a separate electoral area, PP-80, objections were formally lodged against Maryam Nawaz’s nomination papers. Two legal professionals contended that the signatures present on her nomination documents lacked authenticity.
In Khan, Nawaz and Bhutto’s scenarios, the objections have prompted closer examination by the Election Commission. The current situation doesn’t definitively confirm rejection but flags pending scrutiny of the information provided in the nomination papers.
Conversely, there have been instances where nominations were indeed rejected, such as the case involving former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani. The returning officer rejected his nomination papers for PK-45 and Abbottabad-I due to his absence from the country during the scrutiny process explained above.
The screenshot of Capital TV’s misleading post was widely shared on social media platforms, especially on WhatsApp, where it was “forwarded many times”.
Conclusion: Bilawal Bhutto’s nomination papers from NA 127 Lahore have not been rejected by the returning officer. Two lawyers have objected to Maryam Nawaz’s candidacy in a provincial seat, and the ECP will decide on Imran Khan’s eligibility as a candidate in the near future. Objections have been raised against the nomination papers of these key leaders, but have not been decided upon yet. The language used by Capital TV and Bol News was false and misleading.
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