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Saturday, January 12, 2013

No Intra-Party Elections By 114 Political Parties : ECP

Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has revealed that 114 political parties have not held intra-party elections in years. Holding these elections is not only a legal requirement under the election laws of the country, but it is also part of every political party's election manifesto.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League - Quaid e Azam (PML-Q), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League - Functional (PML-F), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) registered under Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP), Qaumi Watan Party are among the 114 parties that have not held intra-party elections before the general elections and within the time frame given in their manifestoes.

Under its party manifesto, the ruling PPP is meant to hold elections every two years. However, the last time it did so was in 2006. Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) under its party manifesto, has to hold party elections every three months; but has also failed to do so since 2009. PML-F is now led by the Pir Pagara Syed Sibaghtullah Shah Rashdi after the demise of his father Syed Shah Mardan Shah-II.

Likewise, the renowned Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which held its last intra-party elections almost 11 years back in 2002, is meant to hold the polls every four years. PTI is going through intra-party elections these days. It is hoped that this process will complete by the announcement of General Elections 2013.

Meanwhile, religious parties have also failed to fulfill the constitutional requirement. Religious parties – which contested in the 2002 elections, under the banner of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), while the JUI-F contested the 2008 polls under the MMA flagship – are supposed to hold intra-party elections every six months; however, they have not held any since 2007.

According to the Political Parties Act 2002, a political party is bound to fulfill two conditions to be eligible for elections, including submitting to the ECP a consolidated statement of accounts audited by a chartered accountant 60 days before the close of each financial year. The second requirement is to hold intra-party elections and submit its results to the ECP. Though the provisions do not provide any verification mechanism to the ECP, the law serves just a cosmetic exercise.

Parties usually file asset details and before the announcement of the election schedule release a statement claiming that intra-party polls were held. The list of the 'elected' office bearers of the party is attached with the statement.

However, election authorities have no mechanism to check the authenticity of such statements. Similar is the case when it comes to filing annual statements of assets by elected legislators for the national parliament and the members of the provincial assemblies.

Note: PTI Intra-Party Elections
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is going through Intraparty polls already. Intra-Party Elections at UC Level in all provincess are underway at the moment. PTI is expected to complete this exercise before the announcement of 2013 General Elections.

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