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— File photo
— File photo

ISLAMABAD: While all other mainstream political parties have submitted their consolidated statements of accounts to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) sought one month to file the same on the last date specified in the Political Parties Order, 2002.

Sources told Dawn that the PTI had ascribed the failure to meet the legal requirement to its active engagement in the recently held by-elections.

An official of the ECP, when contacted, said that under article 13 of the Political Parties Order, 2002 every political party was required to submit to the ECP, within 60 days from the close of each financial year, a consolidated statement of accounts, duly audited by a chartered accountant.

He pointed out that in terms of article 14 of the Political Parties Order, 2002, a party, which failed to submit its statement of accounts under article 13, would not be eligible to obtain election symbol for contesting elections for Majlis-i-Shoora (parliament) and provincial assemblies.

He said there was apparently no room in the law for the ECP to provide relaxation to any party which fails to meet the obligation.

A legal expert also observed that even if such a relaxation was allowed, it would be open for judicial review.

So far around four dozen political parties out of the total 230 enlisted with the ECP have submitted their statements of accounts with the ECP. Among them are all the mainstream political parties except the PTI.

Ruling PML-N, PPP, PPP Parliamentarians, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Awami National Party, PML-Q, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Jamaat-i-Islami, PML-Zia and Awami Muslim League are among the parties to have met the legal requirement.

RECOUNT: In a significant development, the ECP has found apparent irregularities in the electoral process in PPP-150 (Lahore) by-elections and ordered recount of votes in the constituency.

PML-N candidate Mian Marghoob Ahmad was declared winner from the constituency and PTI candidate Mehr Wajid Azeem had alleged irregularities and sought recount. The plea had been rejected by the returning officer and had been challenged before the ECP.

According to an order issued by the ECP, overwriting has been found on a number of lists of votes purported to have been polled in favour of the winning candidate in the carbon copies of the result count provided to candidates by the presiding officer.

“In polling station No 21 (Lahore Cambridge School Saidpur), prima facie the returned candidate had received 60 votes and this was increased to 66,” the order said.

The commission said even the winning candidate’s counsel conceded the overwriting.