The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has asked all political parties contesting the 2018 general election to file an application for their desired party symbol from May 15.
According to a circular issued to the parties, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, there are a number of criteria each party needs to fulfill before turning in their applications.
One requirement concerns the representation of women from each party. The ECP has made it clear that at least 5 per cent of the election tickets must be issued to women party members, failing which the party will not be allowed to contest elections.
The parties are also required to submit a certificate of intra-party elections and provide a yearly statement of their accounts.
The requirements under the law
According to the notification, only parties fulfilling the requirements under Sections 206 (selection for elective office), 209 (certification by the political party), 210 (information about the sources of funds), 215 (eligibility of party to obtain election symbol), and 216 (application for allocation of symbol) of the Elections Act 2017 will be allotted an election symbol.
Section 206 stipulates that a political party must select its candidates ” through a transparent and democratic procedure and while making the selection of candidates on general seats shall ensure at least five per cent representation of women candidates”.
Section 209 requires the parties to submit a certificate signed by an office-bearer approved by the party head within seven days of holding intra-party elections. This certificate is to bear details such as date and results of the elections and certify to the Commission “that the elections were held in accordance with the constitution of the political party and this [Elections] Act”.
Section 210 outlines the need for all political parties to “submit to the Commission within sixty days from the close of a financial year, a consolidated statement of its accounts audited by a Chartered Accountant”.
Along with the statement, a certificate signed by an office-bearer authorised by the party head shall be submitted guaranteeing “(a) no funds from any source prohibited under this Act were received by the political party; and (b) the statement contains an accurate financial position of the political party”.
Section 215 states that political parties shall be entitled to obtain one election symbol as long as certificates and statements referred to in sections 202, 206, 209, and 210 are submitted to the Commission. It further mentions that any election symbol allotted to one party shall not be given to another.
Section 216 asks each political party to file an application to the Commission for allocation of a symbol of its
choice within the period specified by the Commission in its press release, and the application must contain:
(a) the list of symbols applied for in order of preference;
(b) symbol or symbols if any allocated to the political party during
the previous general elections;
(c) every such application shall be signed by the Party Head, by
whatever name designated;
(d) address of the head office of the political party; and
(e) such other particulars or information from the political party as
may be prescribed.