ISLAMABAD - The electoral commission has asked the political parties to submit their account statements and intraparty elections’ certificates “to become entitled to get election symbols” at the time of upcoming general elections.

It has also announced to receive fresh applications from political parties for the allotment of electoral symbols ahead of the general polls. However, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) did not specify any deadline for the submission of the Statements of Accounts.

Seemingly filled with grammatical mistakes and syntactical incoherence, a press release issued by the commission on Friday said, the fresh applications will be invited from the political parties ‘at the time of’ next general elections for allotment of election symbols and “symbols ‘wil’ (will) be allotted to only those political parties, ‘who’ (which) fulfil the requirement of articles 12 & 13 of the aforesaid order (Political Parties Order).”

The excessively lengthy and erroneous press release cites articles 12, 13, 14 of Political Parties Order 2002 as well as the Allocation of Symbols Order 2002 to state that the political parties which fail to submit their annual accounts statements in terms of article 13 of the said order or fail to submit the certificate with regard to intraparty election in terms of article 12 of the said order shall not be entitled to obtain election symbols.

Although, the process of intraparty elections is apparently followed in the major political parties on regular basis but its credibility remains largely questionable due to the overwhelming dominance of dynastic politics and family clout in Pakistan’s political arena. As per longstanding customary practice, the heads of almost all the mainstream political parties are elected ‘unopposed’ in their respective parties’ polls and this process continues for years till these political bigwigs are replaced by their successors, who are mostly their sons, daughters, spouses or other members of their immediate families.

Last year, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan announced to hold ‘largest’ intraparty elections ‘in the history of Pakistan’ within three months with the claimed participation of over 10 million PTI’s registered voters. Till date, the process of PTI’s intraparty polls has been completed only in Islamabad region. The party polls are underway at the union council level in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where polls for district, regional and provincial slots are yet to be held.

Talking to The Nation, PTI’s Chief Election Commissioner Hamid Khan advocate said the party elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be completed by the second week of the coming January. “We have successfully completed our party elections in Islamabad. Now we are focussing on KP,” he said, adding that the intraparty elections would start in Punjab following the completion of polls in KP. Thereafter, the party polls would be held in Sindh, he added.

Asked about the expected time period required to complete this process across the country, Hamid Khan said that the entire process would be completed in the first week of February next year. He said that five to six million registered members of PTI were involved in the voting process to elect the party’s office bearers at their respective levels. “The number of newly registered voters keeps varying due to the inclusion of new members. It is expected that the number of registered voters would be touching something like six million when intraparty elections are completed,” he said.

Regarding prolonged delay in the completion of the party polls, Hamid Khan said, “These are the largest party elections ever held in Pakistan. The number of our members keeps increasing with every passing day. This explains why there has been a delay in completing this process. We want to elect honest and dedicated leadership in transparent and credible manner.”