ECP approves 19 new parties, 1 million new voters

ECP approves 19 new parties, 1 million new voters

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan on Tuesday approved the registration of 19 new political parties, as over one million Pakistanis became eligible for being registered as voters after verification of their data by NADRA.

With the number of registered parties in the country reaching 216, the ECP has fallen short of election symbols. A total of 171 symbols were on the ECP list so far, but the commission is mulling sending more symbols to the government for approval.Moreover, the symbol of cat has been removed from the list on the request of the PML-N on grounds that it was akin to the lion symbol of the party.Briefing reporters about the decisions of the ECP meeting, commission Secretary Ishtiak Ahmed Khan said the ECP expressed full confidence in the process of preparing electoral rolls.

“It was a fair and transparent process. Lists have been on display for months and the commission is also prepared to present solid evidence in cases before the court.” He said the commission had condemned the bid to target senior journalist Hamid Mir and expressed solidarity with the media for dispensing its duties and right to free expression. About complaints of pre-poll rigging, Khan said since the elections were not announced, “the commission cannot take any action on such complaints”.
H
owever, it was taking note of all such news and monitoring the situation.About delimitation of constituencies in Karachi, Khan said the foremost decision needed to be taken by the Sindh government through its revenue department. “But, no action has been taken so far by the provincial government although we are fully prepared for delimitation in Karachi.” He said it was the decision of the Supreme Court and various meetings had been held to set parameters. About his meeting with the prime minister, the ECP secretary said he informed the PM that the ECP was fully prepared to hold next general elections. “We are fully prepared and giving final touches to arrangements.

” Khan mentioned the Code of Conduct and said procession routes and places of public meetings would be decided prior to going for such activities, while there would be a complete ban on display of arms as soon as election schedule is announced until the conclusion of the polling.He said the ECP had directed Dr Doniya Aziz and Arif Aziz Sheikh to approach the Supreme Court to seek relief on dual nationality issue and added that only 30 parliamentarians were yet to submit their declarations about dual nationality.

Khan said the commission accepted a request for registration of Qaumi Watan Party by Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao and rejected requests of registering People’s Muslim League Pakistan and National People’s Muslim League as their names were identical to earlier registered parties.“Such names should not be proposed for registration that confuse the voters. Any request for registering new party should base on certain ideology,” he added.

The secretary said the request of NA Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza regarding fake degree of one of her rivals had been disposed of, advising the approach Sindh High Court to act as needed.The commission also rejected the request by Balochistan chief secretary to postpone by-election in PB-18 due to poor law and order.Moreover, the commission observed that it was bound to hold by-election on any vacant seat if the general polls were at least 120 days away.

He said the CEC would be visiting all four provinces as part of preparations to hold general elections, while meetings would also be held with stakeholders.Khan said a unified electoral reforms package was being prepared and it would be passed from parliament in one go to make election laws more effective and meaningful.Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (r) Fakharuddin G Ebrahim said the preparation of voters list was a painstaking effort and minor discrepancies in the lists would be sorted out in the coming days. – PT