Of the 352 political parties enlisted in a mushroom growth witnessed over the past few years, less than three dozen could fulfill the condition set under the new election law of having 2,000 members and submitting a Rs200,000 fee.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday sent a show-cause notice to 317 parties, asking them to explain within 15 days why they had failed to comply with the provision.
On Oct 20, the ECP sent notices to all 352 political parties registered with it, to comply with sections 201, 202, 209 and 210 of the Elections Act, 2017 and provide a list of 2,000 members with their signatures or thumb impressions along with copies of their National Identity Cards and receipt of Rs200,000 submitted in the National Bank of Pakistan by Dec 2.
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Under the new law, all parties were required to fulfill the two requirements within 60 days after the enactment of the elections act. The period expired on Dec 2, but the ECP fixed Dec 4 as deadline because of a weekend.
The commission warned that it would delist after Dec 4 all the parties that would not fulfill the condition. Section 202 of the Elections Act, 2017 empowers the ECP to delist the parties not fulfilling the criteria.
Only 27 parties fulfilled the condition in time including, the Aam Aadmi Justice Party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, Balochistan National Party-Awami, Pakistan Peoples Party, PPP-Parliamentarians, Majlis-e-Muslimeen, Tehreek-e-Sooba Hazara, Tehreek Tahuffuz-e-Pakistan, Qaumi Watan Party, Aman Taraqqi Party, Barabri Party Pakistan, Sunni Ittehad Council, National Peoples Party, Tehreek Tabdeeli-e-Nizam, Pakistan Human Party, Pakistan Muslim League, Pakistan Citizens Movement, Pakistan Kisaan Ittehad, Mustaqbil Pakistan, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Awami Tehreek, Awami Workers Party, Islami Tehreek Pakistan, Roshan Pakistan League and All Pakistan Muslim League.
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Some parties contacted the ECP and sought more time for submitting the documents. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Awami National Party, Pak Sarzameen Party, Jamaat-e-Islami and two little-known parties, Pakistan Freedom Movement and Muttahida Awami Ittehad Party, submitted the documents later.
The 317 parties showing apathy to the ECP notice include some from the mainstream, like Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Jamait Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl.
“Now, therefore, in compliance with the provision of Section 202(5), since your party has failed to comply with the provision of Section 202(4), you are asked to show cause as to why the enlistment of your party may not be cancelled by the Election Commission of Pakistan,” says the notice sent to the parties failing to fulfil the requirements of the law.
“Your reply to this show-cause notice should reach the Election Commission within 15 days of the issuance of this notice, failing which one-sided action shall be taken against you and your party shall be delisted,” it warned.
ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad told The Express Tribune that the commission was providing these parties another opportunity through the notices to fulfil the legal provision. He said the ECP might issue a final warning and conduct hearing before taking decisive action.
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