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Election Commission of Pakistan Okays re-polling on less than 10pc women votes

By: Mumtaz Alvi

ISLAMABAD: A day before the consultative session with as many as 15 political parties here, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Wednesday took some important decisions, which included ‘registration’ of seven new political parties and placing the issue of granting the right of vote to overseas Pakistani before the Thursday’s meeting here with political parties.

Meeting of the Election Commission held under the chairmanship of Chief Election Commissioner Justice (R) Fakhruudin G. Ebrahim here. Election Commission Members, namely, Justice (R) Muhammad Roshan Essani, Justice (R) Riaz Kayani, Justice (R) Shahzad Akbar Khan and Justice (R) Fazal-ur-Rehman, Ishtiak Ahmad Khan, Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan, all provincial election commissioners and other senior officers attended the meeting.

A draft bill suggesting re-poll on the polling station(s), where less than 10 percent of the women votes are polled so that to increase the number of women participation in the electoral process was approved by the electoral body and now it would be forwarded to the Ministry of Law for its referral to the parliament for legislation.

The proposed piece of legislation would help prevent such groups/parties entering into an agreement restraining women of a particular area or a polling station from exercising their right to vote. In the past there have been reports of vote right denial to certain areas of the tribal areas, parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and even Balochistan.

The seven parties the documents of which were found in conformity with the provisions of the Political Parties Order, 2002, were maintained for the record included Pakistan Muslim League-Humkhiyal, which has decided to jointly contest general elections with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

“The option of granting voting right to expatriates appears to be non-practicable, as among others complexities like legal and administrative issues, bulk of 4 million Pakistanis live in the Middle East, where some states have no or restricted democracy that will make it very difficult to go for such activity there,” a source privy to the meeting told The News.

The forum after referring cases of 12 legislators to the provincial election commissions for forwarding to the session courts, decided to hold bye-elections to fill the seats, which fell vacant due to disqualification of eleven lawmakers, who allegedly hide their having dual nationality in negation of Article 63 (1) (c) of the Constitution.

The seven parties the record of which has now been maintained by the Election Commission that means they are eligible to taking part in elections after the allotment election symbols are: Pakistan Justice Party, Pakistan Muhammadi Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Humkhiyal, Public Forum, Pakistan Falah Party, Pakistan Hizbullah Party and All Pakistan Peoples Qaumi Movement.

Likewise, the requests of allotment of symbols from the three already recognised political parties were considered and symbols were allotted to these parties from the approved list of symbols and according to their preference. The parties’ names and symbols given to them are: Pakistan Rah-e-Haq Party (Charpai), Sada-e-Pakistan Party (Wristwatch) and Tehreek Ehtahad-e-Adam (Ring).

The details of intra-party elections of Awami Party and All Pakistan Muslim League, submitted under Article 11(1) of the Political Parties Order, 2002, were approved to be published in the official Gazette, as required under Article 12(3) of the Political Parties Order, 2002.

The News