The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has asked all political parties to fulfill “all legal requirements” before applying for election symbols to contest the next parliamentary elections slated for early next year.
According to a notification issued by the ECP on Friday, the legal requirements include: holding intra-party elections and submitting a statement of party accounts duly certified by a chartered accountant.
“Fresh applications will be invited from political parties at the time of the next general elections for the allotment of election symbols. Symbols will be allotted only to those political parties who fulfill the requirements of Articles 12 & 13 of the aforementioned order,” the ECP said.
Political parties which fail to submit their annual statement of accounts in accordance with terms of Article 13 of the said order or fail to submit the certificate with regard to intra-party elections in accordance with Article 12 of the order shall not be entitled to obtaining election symbols, according to the notification.
The requirement of holding party elections and submitting a statement of accounts has been flouted widely in the past. The law does mention these conditions but does not specify anything that makes the process meaningful.
The commission has also decided that all the political parties intending to contest elections would be asked to reapply for election symbols. With the registration of so many political parties in recent years, the commission is apparently short of symbols.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2012.
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