With 182 registered parties, Pakistan has one for every million

Published: March 14, 2012

Soft process, no verification makes registration process fairly simple.

ISLAMABAD: 

With the addition of 15 new entities on Tuesday, the number of registered political parties in Pakistan has risen to a whopping 182.

The Election Commission of Pakistan, during its meeting on Tuesday, cleared the applications of 15 applicants under the Political Parties Order 2002.

Among new entrants are five parties with the words “Pakistan Muslim League”: Pakistan Muslim League (Muttahida), Peoples Muslim League Pakistan, Pakistan Muslim League (Democratic), Pakistan Muslim League (Council) and Pakistan Muslim League (Safdar). The other parties are: Wattan National League Pakistan, Awami Ittehad Party, Muttahida Qaabail Party, All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, Sada-e-Pakistan Party, Tehreek-i-Ittehad-e-Adam, All Pakistan Youth Working Party, Khud-Mukhtar Pakistan Party and Pakistan United Inqalab Party.

Not more than a dozen among the registered parties have any representation at any level in the national or provincial legislatures.

Requirements to register a party

Under the Political Parties Order 2002, registering a new political party is very easy.  One needs to provide a printed copy of the party’s ‘constitution’, a statement of an account in the name of the party from any bank and a list of names of some office-bearers of this party to the ECP. There is neither a fee nor any process of verification of these documents available with the ECP till now.

Under the election laws, it is mandatory for every party to hold intra-party elections before it is allocated an election symbol – but this provision is flouted. Forget the obscure parties, even most of the bigger and established political parties do not go through any proper intra-party elections. Usually they submit a certificate claiming that this process has been adhered to.

Except very few aberrations, an overwhelming majority of the political parties have lifelong heads.

Why a lucrative business

For most ‘parties,’ existence is either a part-time hobby or a sort of a bargaining chip. For example, an official of the ECP told The Express Tribune that former president Pervez Musharraf has registered his party with the name of All Pakistan Muslim League and is striving to get eagle as his party’s election symbol. However, eagle is already allotted to another party – and it is likely that if Musharraf wants to enter the political arena with this symbol, he might have to bargain with the head of the party already that has already been allotted this symbol.

In its meeting on Tuesday, the commission also allotted election symbols to 11 other parties. Pakistan Fatima Jinnah Muslim League was allotted a stag; Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (Noorani), fan; Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek, gun, Awami Justice Party, tumbler; Mutahidda Muslim League, bus; Sindh Dost Party, house; Ittehad Alam-e-Islam, flower pot; Awami Tehreek, whistle; Bahawalpur National Awami Party, bull cart; Sindh Taraqi Passand Party, television; and Jannat Pakistan Party, fountain.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2012.

Reader Comments (14)

  • saeed
    Mar 14, 2012 - 10:45AM

    But there is one party for the 70 percent youth of Pakistan and that is PTI..

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  • Ali Khan
    Mar 14, 2012 - 12:21PM

    @ Saeed. Hahahahahahaaaaaaa. Joke of the century

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  • zeeshan
    Mar 14, 2012 - 12:28PM

    PTI is our party

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  • ali
    Mar 14, 2012 - 12:42PM

    @saeed: Living in the imaginary world of PTI supporters!

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  • Ali
    Mar 14, 2012 - 12:51PM

    Please 182 are enough to push us back to stone age. We don’t need more.

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  • saim
    Mar 14, 2012 - 1:03PM

    For Pakistan there is ONE that Matters & that of course is PTI !

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  • Fahad
    Mar 14, 2012 - 2:31PM

    They assigned a GUN as the symbol to a political party…A GUN!!! Exactly what could be in the constitution of a party that is symbolized by a gun…. this is pathetic!

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  • Mian Imran
    Mar 14, 2012 - 2:44PM

    We support PTI as other parties failed to deliver. We are not happy with current state of our country so we can’t be happy with the parties who have been ruling us in last so many years taking turns.

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  • Mar 14, 2012 - 2:50PM

    @saeed: It looks like you have a fetish with Imran Khan (pun intended). No hard feelings brother, but IK may be a bit of a disappointment in the coming elections. Salams

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  • vasan
    Mar 14, 2012 - 3:19PM

    How many registered and unregistered terrorist groups are in Pakistan?. Any educated guesses?

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  • Witch Dr.
    Mar 14, 2012 - 3:30PM

    @the Skunk: As if the the rest 181 brought some good for us. They are all the same so why dont we try a new face!!

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  • Ahmed
    Mar 16, 2012 - 6:27AM

    @vasan: ask the indian army thet r the biggest of all.

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  • vasan
    Mar 16, 2012 - 8:55AM

    Ahmed : Thanks. I did ask the army, They informed me that they know of only the terrorist gangs operating in Kashmir, Would u care to take a census of the rest of them in Pakistan like in Balochistan, FATA, NWFP etc including TTP, SiS and all their reincarnations

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  • vasan
    Mar 16, 2012 - 8:57AM

    Ahmed : I also would like to add that an Army can look like a terrorist from an opponent’s point of view, But a terrorist cannot look like an army for their own countryman. That is suicidal.

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