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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued a show-cause notice to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for his failure to hold intraparty elections of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) in his capacity as the party president, warning that N-League would be declared ineligible to get electoral symbol if intraparty polls are not held at the earliest.

The ECP has also issued show-cause notices to 11 other political parties, comprising smaller political groups, for their failure to hold intraparty polls.

According to the ECP, intraparty polls in PML-N were due by March 13 this year. On N-League’s request, the ECP extended this date and allowed it to hold the intraparty polls latest by May 14, and submit the related certificate by May 21, which the PML-N failed to do.

Following this, the electoral body has issued a show-cause notice to the party chief.

Probe into funding sources of PML-N, PPP: ECP says it’s not employing delaying tactics

Section 209 of the Elections Act 2017 reads: “Certification by the political party.—(1) A political party shall, within seven days from completion of the intraparty elections, submit a certificate signed by an office-bearer authorised by the party head, to the commission to the effect that the elections were held in accordance with the constitution of the political party and this act to elect the office-bearers at the federal, provincial and local levels, wherever applicable. (2) The certificate under Subsection 1 shall contain the following information— (a) the date of the last intraparty elections; (b) the names, designations and addresses of office-bearers elected at the federal, provincial and local levels, wherever applicable; (c) the election results; and (d) copy of the political party’s notifications declaring the results of the election. (3) The commission shall, within seven days from the receipt of the certificate of a political party under Subsection 1, publish the certificate on its website.”

Sections 215 (4) and 215 (5) of Elections Act 2017 state: “Eligibility of party to obtain election symbol: (4) Where a political party or combination of political parties, severally or collectively, fails to comply with the provision of Section 209 or Section 210, the commission shall issue to such political party or parties a notice to show cause as to why it or they may not be declared ineligible to obtain an election symbol. (5) If a political party or parties to whom show-cause notice has been issued under Subsection 4 fails to comply with the provision of Section 209 or Section 210, the commission may after affording it or them an opportunity of being heard, declare it or them ineligible to obtain an election symbol for election to Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), provincial assembly or a local government, and the commission shall not allocate an election symbol to such political party or combination of political parties in subsequent election.”

In addition, the intraparty elections in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were due on June 13, 2021. On the request of former ruling party, the ECP granted it one-year extension in holding intraparty polls—till coming June 13. The ECP has directed PTI to ensure holding the polls by the given date.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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