MQM, PTI not eligible to contest polls, so far
* ECP declares 123 out of 227 registered political parties qualified to
participate in next general election
By Sajid Chaudhry
ISLAMABAD: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf have still to qualify for the upcoming general elections, it has been learnt.
Only about 123 out of the 227 registered political parties in the country have so far qualified to contest the upcoming general elections. Those who have qualified include major political parties like the Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Muslim League-N, Pakistan Muslim League-Q, Awami National Party, and Jamiat Ulma-e-Islam-Fazl. However, two other major political parties, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Muttahida Qaumi Movement, have not been able to secure eligibility due to the different reasons.
A senior official at the ECP informed Daily Times on Friday that the total number of political parties in the country is 227, and so far only 123 of them have completed formalities for contesting the general elections. Some 104 political parties have not been able to meet the different obligations announced by the ECP to qualify for the general elections.
The ECP official said that the PTI has so far not met the condition to hold intra-party elections, although it is in process of this activity. This is the sole reason keeping it ineligible for the elections. The official further said that the MQM has not submitted the details of its assets and party funds to the ECP, and due to this reason the party has yet to qualify for the elections. The ECP official explained to Daily Times that in about next 10 days the ECP will invite applications for the issuance of election symbols, and the PTI and MQM still have the opportunity to submit the details of intra-party elections and details of their assets and party funds. After receiving the applications for the election symbols, the chief election commissioner would invite the main representatives of the political parties and would hold discussions on a number of issues.
The ECP official further said that the ECP director general on Friday held a meeting with NAB, FBR, SBP and NADRA during which it was informed that although the deadline fixed for scrutiny of the nomination papers of the election candidates has been fixed at seven days, however, it is to be completed within two or three days. The FBR assured the ECP that it would verify the data of tax defaulters within two days, whereas NAB will verify the data of convicts and those who availed plea bargain in corruption cases.
The SBP will conduct verification of loan defaulters and those who had loans written off on unjustified grounds. Meanwhile, NADRA will provide details of candidates’ family members and dependants. The ECP official said that the ECP, in collaboration with IT experts, would prepare a software through which details of the election candidates would be shared with NAB, FBR, SBP and NADRA for quick verification. On March 6, the recommendations of the meeting between the ECP, NAB, FBR, SBP and NADRA would be placed before the chief election commissioner for approval so that a scrutiny mechanism is finalised for the general elections.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan on Friday announced the final electoral rolls for the upcoming general elections with the total number of registered voters at 85.421 million (8.5421 crore), of which 48.259 million are male and 37.162 million female. The number of registered voters in the country at the time of 2008 general elections was estimated at around 81 million, and the addition of around 4.421 million new voters since then has taken the total number of registered voters in the country to 85.421 million. According to the figures released by the ECP, Punjab has the highest number of registered voters – 48.838 million – of which 27.540 million are male and 21.297 million female. In Sindh, the total number of registered votes has been estimated at 18.663 million, of which 10.321 million are male and 8.350 million female. The number of registered voters in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been recorded at 12.241 million, with a male and female breakdown of 7.017 million and 5.230 million, respectively. The number of registered voters in Balochistan is 3.337 million, 1.918 million of whom are male and 1.418 million female.
Meanwhile, registered voters in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have been estimated at 1.725 million – 1.142 million male and 0.5831 million female. According to the ECP estimates, the number of registered voters in the federal capital area are 0.609,517 million; 0.328,342 million of whom are male and 0.281,175 million female.
The ECP has plans to appoint 1,259 district returning officers, returning officers and assistant returning officers in the country for the conduct of the general elections. According to the ECP announcement, some 126 returning officers, 425 returning officers and 708 assistant returning officers are to be appointed in the country.
The federal capital will have one district returning officer, two returning officers and four assistant returning officers. Punjab will have 36 district returning officers, 149 returning officers and 307 assistant returning officers. Whereas, Sindh will have 27 district returning officers, 64 returning officers and 130 assistant returning officers for general elections 2013.