Internal polls a must for parties: Election Commission of Pakistan
By: Mumtaz Alvi
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday issued a reminder to the political parties asking them to file intra-party poll documents and statements of their accounts, failing which they won’t be allotted symbols to contest the general elections.
The commission said that the fresh applications had been invited from political parties in the run-up to the general elections for allotment of election symbols. It further said that the symbols would be allotted only to those parties, which fulfilled the requirement mentioned in the Political Parties Order-2002.
“All the political parties, which have not submitted the statements of their accounts as well as the certificates concerning their intra-party elections are therefore asked to submit the same to become entitled to get election symbols at the time of the forthcoming general elections,” says a press release issued to the media.
Sources in the commission said that the PPP, ANP and PML-Q were among the leading parties that had yet to hold intra-party elections and submit related documents to the Election Commission. It’s learnt that the PPP had last conducted the intra-party polls in 2006 after which it could not do so for unknown reasons. ‘The News’ tried to seek the comments of some party office-bearers, but in vain. Both the PPP Media Centre Head Senator Farhatullah Babar and PPP Information Secretary Qamar Zaman Kaira did not respond to the calls as well as the SMS sent on their cellphones.
The PML-Q conducted intra-party polls in 2009, MQM and JI in 2012 and PML-N last year, while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is in the process of holding the exercise in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and has announced to complete the drive prior to the general elections.
Article 14 of the Political Parties Order-2002 says a political party shall be eligible to obtain an election symbol to contest the Parliament and provincial assemblies’ elections on submission of certificates and statements under Articles 12 and 13, which call for submission of related documents.
According to the order where any political party or a combination of political parties, collectively, contravenes the provisions of Articles 12 and 13, it shall not be entitled to obtain a symbol for election.
The commission also noted that Allocation of Symbols Order-2002 provides that subject to the fulfillment of the provisions of the Political Parties Order and the rules framed thereunder, a political party shall make an application to the Election Commission for allocation of a symbol of its choice within the period specified by the commission.