ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Wednesday once again asked 352 political parties to submit the list of at least 2,000 of their members and deposit enlistment fee of Rs 200,000 each by December 4 or be ready to be de-listed.
According to a press release, no political party had met the requirement under the provisions of the Election Act, 2017. The first notice had been issued on October 20 and a reminder had been sent to all the political parties for depositing the enlistment fee and providing the list of at least 2,000 members along with their signatures or thumb impressions, besides copies of their Computerized National Identity Cards (CNIC). Another notice was issued on November 14 and final notice through advertisements in some leading national dailies on November 25 to to remind their legal obligations, failing which the defaulting parties would be de-listed. The offices of the commission would be opened on Saturday and Sunday to facilitate political parties. The notice reminds the parties that under the Elections Act, 2017, they are required to comply with the provisions of its Sections 201, 202, 209 and 210 within 60 days of its enforcement.
The smaller parties are unlikely to comply with the requirement when even the major parties are seen to be holding sham elections. Prior to the 2013 general election, the number of parties enlisted with the ECP outnumbered the available election symbols when it climbed to 216. Currently, the number of registered political parties stand at 352. “In case an enlisted political party fails to comply with the provisions… the Election Commission of Pakistan shall cancel the enlistment of the political party under Section 202(5) of the act,” the notice said.
Under its Section 4, a political party enlisted by the commission before the commencement of the act shall be deemed to have been enlisted, provided it has filed the required documents, and if not it shall submit the documents within 60 days of the enforcement of the law, according to the notice.
Under its Section 5, if an enlisted party fails to file documents within the stipulated timeframe, the commission shall cancel its enlistment after giving it a chance to explain the reasons. According to an ECP official, under Section 6 of the act, a party that has been refused enlistment or whose registration has been cancelled may, within 30 days of the refusal or cancellation of enlistment, file an appeal in the Supreme Court.