ISLAMABAD - The electoral body has no mechanism to deal with the cases of those political heads who are dual or foreign nationals but informally head political parties as well as those who head political parties are not registered with the ECP.
According to details, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Quaid Altaf Hussain and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chairman Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri informally head their parties but they cannot be barred from doing so since their portfolios are not registered with the Election Commission. Altaf Hussain reportedly surrendered his Pakistani nationality to become a British citizen while Dr Qadri is a Pakistani-Canadian. In the record of ECP, Dr Qadri was the President of PAT till he quitted the party’s Presidentship recently and was replaced by Raheeq Abbasi. As per ECP record, also available on its website, the top leader or official party head of MQM is Dr Farooq Sattar, the Deputy Convener MQM Rabta Committee.
The ECP officials say, despite Altaf Hussain being a British national and Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri a dual-national, nothing can be done to informally stop them from heading their parties since they are not officially listed as the party heads. Dr Qadri is the unofficial Chairman of PAT, which does not have any official recognition by the ECP.
“If anybody unofficially heads a party as its quaid or chairman, that’s none of our business, we can’t do anything in this regard because the ECP has jurisdiction only on those parties that are registered with it and the portfolios mentioned therein,” a senior ECP official said.
Similarly, President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari informally heads Pakistan People’s Party while there’s no such party with this name registered with ECP. The actually registered party is PPP-Parliamentarian whom Makhdoom Ameen Faheem heads as its President. Zardari heads PPP as its Co-Chairman, a portfolio that has no recognition with the ECP.
“This is why, the ECP cannot take on President of Pakistan for heading a political party because officially there’s no such party as PPP and there’s no such portfolio as Co-Chairman,” a former ECP official told TheNation.