Amendments to PPO at next NA session: PML
* Azeem says intra-party polls not mandatory for PML
By Shahzad Raza
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League (PML) has announced that relevant changes will be made in the Political Parties Order (PPO) 2002, at the next session of the National Assembly (NA).
Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, PML Secretary General Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed and Information Secretary Senator Tariq Azeem said the changes would end the restriction on holding public and party offices at the same time.
They said that the Election Commission (EC) would be notified about the intra-party elections before July 18 so that the prime minister-in-waiting, Shaukat Aziz, could obtain the election symbol of a bicycle. They also said that the PML would hold its intra-party elections in accordance with the rules.
Asked if the PML would support President Pervez Musharraf’s decision on his military uniform, Mr Hussain said that the president’s uniform should not be considered ‘an issue’ before December 31, 2004.
The PML information secretary said that Prime Minister Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain had directed the authorities to keep a weekly check on flour prices. He said that people involved in the wheat hoarding would be blacklisted and punished. He said the prime minister had asked the authorities to keep a reserve of one million tonnes of wheat.
Explaining the legality of intra-party elections, the PML information secretary told Daily Times that it was not mandatory for the party to hold intra-party elections before July 18. The PPO 2002 says the intra-party elections will be held periodically and not later than four years after the previous elections,” he said.
“It is not possible for us to hold the intra-party election at all levels of the party organisation before July 18,” he said, adding that the party would notify the EC that election to the party president was already held and the PML General Council had empowered him to nominate the office-bearers. He said all nominations by the president would be endorsed or rejected by the General Council in its next meeting.
Article 12 of the PPO 2002 says, “The party leader of each political party shall, within seven days from completion of the intra-party elections submit a certificate under his signatures to the Election Commission to the effect that the elections were held in accordance with the constitution of the party and this order to elect the party leader and other office-bearers at the federal, provincial and local levels, wherever applicable.”
Article 18 (3) of the PPO 2002 says that a political party that fails to fulfil the requirement of intra-party elections will not be allotted an election symbol for the 2002 general elections. Legal experts said that this clause might also apply in case of by-elections. As the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-QA) renamed itself as the PML after the merger of the samller PML factions, it was necessary for the merged party to fulfil certain requirements of the PPO 2002 including submitting the latest copies of the constitution, details of the bank accounts and results of the intra-party elections.