ISLAMABAD: Thanks to the Elections Act, 2017, out of 350 political parties, only 21 are presently eligible for future electoral process while the rest have failed to fulfil the new criterion set for enlisting of a party in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
It goes without saying that the new legislation has greatly helped the ECP in curtailing the number of political parties and this clearly means that unlike the past, there may be lesser parties to take part in elections. Now, a political party is needed to submit, among other things, a list of 2,000 party members with their signatures and their CNIC copies to the electoral body under Section 202 (2) of the Act.
The Elections Act was passed by the parliament on September 22 last year and immediately after that the ECP had framed rules and also asked political parties to submit documents and fee as per the new legislation. It had given over two months to them to comply with that.
It was speculated before the legislation that had there been no tougher conditions for a party to get enlisted with the ECP, before the general election, the number of political parties could have crossed 400 mark. The eligible ones, include Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians with election symbol ‘arrow’, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz ‘tiger’, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ‘bat’, Pakistan Muslim League ‘bicycle’, Awami National Party ‘lantern’, Jamaat-e-Islami ‘scale’, Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen ‘tent’, Pakistan People’s Party ‘two swords’, Paak Sarzameen Party ‘dolphin’, Balochistan National Party-Awami ‘camel’ and Awami Muslim League ‘ink pot with pen’.
It has also mentioned on its website the names of nine other parties, which could not submit related documents on time and thus have been served show-cause notices and their respective cases are under consideration at the ECP.
These parties include, Tehreek Labaik Pakistan, Move on Pakistan, Hazara Democratic Party, Pakistan Rah-e-Haq, Aam Log Party Pakistan, Pakistan Muslim League (Z), Pakistan Conservative Party, Sindh United Party and Pakistan People’s Party (SB).
The ECP has uploaded on its website names of the eligible 21 parties along with other related details, including their election symbols and when intra-party elections are due in those respective parties. Besides names, election symbols and other details of nine parties, served notices, have also been mentioned.
Apparently, there are chances of lesser parties making their way to the Parliament after general election later this year. In addition to some independents, 18 parties had won representation in the National Assembly while 13 parties have their senators in the Upper House of Parliament presently, as 52 of the 104-member Senate will retire on March 11, 2018.
As many as 67 parties are enlisted at the ECP, including the eligible ones. Those enlisted include MQM, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party, Balochistan National Party-Mengal, JUI-Fazl, JUI-Sami, Jamhoori Watan Party, Islami Tehreek Pakistan, ex-president Pervez Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League and former CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s Pakistan Justice and Democratic Party.
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