Hold party polls or lose election symbol, ECP warns PTI

Published August 3, 2023
PTI supporters wave party flags as they take part in a rally in Karachi on April 10, 2022. — AFP
PTI supporters wave party flags as they take part in a rally in Karachi on April 10, 2022. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has given a final warning to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to hold intra-party elections, otherwise it could be declared ineligible to obtain an election symbol.

In a notice sent to PTI Chairman Imran Khan, the ECP directed him to appear before the commission on Aug 4 (Friday); otherwise, action will be taken against the party.

“Under section 215 of the Act, if any political party fails to comply with the provisions of the said section 209, this commission is empowered to declare the said political party ineligible to obtain an election symbol. You are required in terms of section 215(4) of the Elections Act, 2017, to appear before the election commission on 4 Aug, 2023 at 10am at the ECP Secretariat, G-5/2, lslamabad, failing which the commission under section 215(5) of the Elections Act, 2017, may declare your political party ineligible to obtain election symbol for future election(s),” the ECP’s notice, whose copy is available with Dawn, said.

The ECP mentioned in the notice that it had already served two notices to the PTI, asking the party to conduct intra-party polls but it remained failed to do so.

The notice referred to the ECP’s earlier notice dated May 24, 2021, followed by a show-cause notice dated July 27, 2021, regarding the conduct of intra-party elections of the party, which were due on June 13, 2021 under the party’s constitution.

“Through the above referred notice, your party was intimated/reminded to conduct intra-party elections within time frame provided under sections 208, 209 and 215 of the Elections Act, 2017 and your party failed to provide the requisite certificate to this effect to the election commission that the said elections have been conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Elections Act, 2017, and the party’s constitution as provided in section 209 of the Act,” the notice said.

The commission also explained that the ECP’s show-cause notice was replied by the PTI and extension of one year w.e.f. June 13, 2021 to June 13, 2022, in conducting intra-party election was also granted.

Later, the ECP issued reminders on March 7, 2022, April 16, 2022 and final notice on May 21, 2022, for ensuring conduct of intra-party elections on or before June 13, 2022 (extended date), with observation that no further extension shall be allowed.

Meanwhile, Jamal Akbar Ansari, Chief Election Commissioner of the PTI, had submitted a new constitution with amended articles, along with a certificate of intra-party elections and relevant documents with the ECP, which were scrutinised and found deficient and sent back to the party for removal of deficiencies in the new constitution on June 22, 2022.

In response, the party again submitted intra-party documents including Form-65, notification of elected office bearers, resolution of National Council on July 7, 2022 on the basis of the amended constitution, which were again scrutinised and found deficient and were sent back to PTI for removal of deficiencies on Aug 4, 2022.

The notice said during a hearing of the case on March 28, 2023 the amendments in constitution and intra-party elections documents came under discussion and adjudication.

However, Mr Ansari, along with Barrister Gohar Ali, gave a statement at the bar conveying the PTI’s decision to withdraw the amendment in the party constitution and its consequential effects on intra-party elections held under the amended constitution.

The notice said section 208 of the Elections Act, 2017, mandatorily required that office-bearers of a political party at the federal, provincial, and local levels, wherever applicable, shall be elected periodically in accordance with its constitution, and any change/addition in the constitution of a political party was also mandatorily required to be communicated to the ECP within 15 days of such incorporation.

“Similarly, in terms of section 209(1) of the Act, the registered political party was bound to provide the commission a certificate regarding conduct of the said intra-party elections as provided by law,” it added.

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2023

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