Karachi: Political parties have kick-started their election activities as thousands of aspiring candidates have submitted their applications to contest the federal and provincial elections.
Though the deadline still remains March 10, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has received 5,303 applications from its members who are willing to contest for national and provincial seats as well as for the reserved quota for minorities and women.
The number of applications is to rise further as the deadline gets closer.
Likewise, the Pakistan Tehreeke Insaf, of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, has published a full page advertisement on a leading daily newspaper inviting applications from the potential candidates to be allocated the party ticket.
Other leading parties were also gearing up for the process as the doubts were dying down gradually about the speculations of postponement of the elections.
Federal education minister and PPP stalwart Syed Khurshid Shah overnight assured the nation the present government and the national and provincial assemblies would be dissolved at midnight on March 16, the date which marks the completion of the five-year term of the current government and the assemblies.
The completion of a democratic government has been a milestone in the political history of the country as it will be the first time an independently elected government sees a smooth transfer of power. In the past elected governments have been thrown out by the military dictators before the completion of their constitutional terms.
President Asif Ali Zardari, while addressing the business community on Sunday, remarked that it was quite a task for his government.
He said the opponents would have wanted to oust the government every sixth months of the five-year term but they steered through all the impediments.
He also remarked that this was the first time when the government would complete its legitimate term.
The first government of PPP was ousted by Zia-ul-Haq, the late general who staged a coup against prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who was later hanged in a murder case.
Haq ruled for 11 years and died in a plane crash. Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif became prime ministers of the country twice each but every time they were removed in military coup or through unconstitutional presidential orders.
The upcoming elections are expected in mid-May though the date has not been announced as yet.