The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Saturday extended the date to file nomination papers for the Senate election till February 15 (tomorrow), but maintained that the polls will be held on March 3 as announced earlier. The new notification says the date to file nomination papers has been set from February 12 till February 15. The ECP said that it was amending the dates after seeing reports in the media that the candidates were facing difficulties in completing legal formalities to file nomination papers. The ECP said that it was extending the date through the powers conferred to it under Article 218 (3) read with Section 128 of the Elections Act 2017. According to the new schedule, dates for filing of nomination papers are February 12-15; publication of names of nominated candidates will be on February 16; dates for scrutiny of nomination papers are February 17-18; dates for filing of appeals against acceptance of rejection of nomination papers are February 19-20; dates for disposal of appeals by the tribunal are February 22-23; publication of revised list of candidates is on February 24; date for withdrawal of candidature is February 25 and the polling day is March 3. Many parties had called on the ECP to change the dates to file nomination of papers. PPP, one of the major opposition parties, had written a letter to the chief election commissioner requesting the ECP a delay in the submission of candidates forms for the upcoming Senate election over time constraints and legal issues. PPP’s Secretary-General Nayyar Hussain Bukhari had said that the time allowed by the Election Commission of Pakistan for submission of forms is not enough. However, after the amendment in the schedule, the PPP on Saturday demanded clarification from the ECP over the change in the election schedule of the Senate elections. The election commission’s decision to amend the election schedule has created suspicions over the matter, PPP Secretary General Nayyar Bukhari said in a statement. The PPP had written a letter to the ECP seeking extension in the date of submission of the nomination papers, but the commission had refused to extend the date on the party’s demand, Bukhari stated. “But after one day of the refusing the PPP demand, the ECP has now extended the date,” Bukhari said. Meanwhile, candidates who have gotten party tickets have started filing their nomination papers across the country. PTI candidates Fauzia Arshad and Federal Minister for Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh submitted their nomination papers for the March 3 elections. While opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement joint candidate Yousf Raza Gilani has also submitted his nomination papers. The two PTI candidates and Gilani will be contesting on the Senate seats for Islamabad.