ISLAMABAD - Following the deadlock between two political parties over the allotment of a symbol of choice, the Election Commission of Pakistan on Friday reserved its decision on the matter, likely to be made public by the end of this month.
The JI was represented by Liaquat Baloch and Toufeeq Nawaz Advocate while PTI’s Chief Election Commissioner Hamid Khan Advocate appeared on behalf of his party during Friday’s hearing. Jama’at-e-Islami is likely to get the Scale symbol on the basis of Preferential Rights, according to informed officials. Scale was allotted to the JI in 1970 general elections.
During yesterday hearing, all the three MECs reportedly tried to convince the PTI representative to review the request on the Scale symbol. “Imran Khan led Pakistani cricket team to win the World Cup. I think ‘Bat’ or ‘Ball’ are the best electoral symbols for PTI,” Justice (r) Riaz Kayani reportedly advised Hamid Khan on a lighter note while referring to the Cricket World Cup 1992. However, Hamid Khan is said to have insisted that the PTI be allotted Scale symbol since it was allotted the same symbol during 2009 polls in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Reportedly, the MECs contended that the electoral process in GB and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) was outside the ambit of the ECP and a separate and independent election commission was involved in overseeing the electoral affairs in both the regions. Following the persisting disagreement, the decision on symbol allotment was reserved but not announced.
Talking to TheNation, Hamid Khan Advocate said that the PTI would consider requesting the ECP for the allotment of Bat or Torch symbol in case its request regarding Scale symbol was declined. “The JI had Scale in 1970 which perhaps brings them above us in the preference list for getting this symbol allotted. Although, we had Scale as an electoral symbol in GB polls but ECP says its laws do not apply there in the GB. Bat was our electoral symbol in 2002 general elections and I guess we’ll go for Bat or Torch. We’ll decide about it after the commission announced its decision,” he said.
According to Section 7 (1) of the Allocation of Symbols Order 2002, a political party shall have preference for allocation of a symbol if such a symbol was allocated to it in an earlier election. “If a political party, satisfies the requirements under para 5, it may be allotted a symbol for all its candidates if it sends their list to the election commission in time provided in the press release: Provided that a political party shall have preference for allocation of a symbol if such a symbol was allocated to it before entering into an alliance with other parties in an earlier election,” it says.
Para 5, of the same order says, “Subject to fulfillment of the provisions of Political Parties Order, 2002 and the rules framed there under, a political party shall make an application to the election commission for allocation of a symbol of its choice within the period specified by the commission in its press release.”
In the light of Political parties Order 2002, a political party can get an electoral symbol only after the submission of the certificate of intra-party election and Annual Statement on Accounts, as provided in the Articles 12 and 13. It says, “Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, a political party shall be eligible to obtain an election symbol for contesting elections for Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) and Provincial Assemblies on submission of certificates and statement referred to in Articles 12 and 13, provided that a combination of political parties shall be entitled to obtain a common election symbol for such election only if, each party constituting such combination, submits the certificates and statement referred to in Articles 12 and 13.”