ECP bars ROs from allotting ‘alternative symbol’ to candidates

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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Saturday barred the returning officers (ROs) from allotting alternative symbol to such candidates, seeking election symbol of other political parties, ARY News reported.

The directives came after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – sensing danger of losing its iconic symbol bat – chalked out a Plan B by ordering its candidates to submit nominations under the PTI-Nazriati group, whose election symbol is batsman.

In a post on X, PTI s official account said: “Whoever has PTI-Nazriati tickets should immediately submit them and take any kind of hindrance to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and high courts.”

The party issued the directives while the Supreme Court heard ECP s petition challenging the Peshawar High Court s (PHC) decision to restore the PTI s electoral symbol, the “bat”.

Meanwhile, the electoral watchdog issued a stern order prohibiting candidates from seeking election symbols affiliated with parties other than their own.

In the order, the election commission clarified the legal stance on reports of PTI’s symbol being utilized as a ‘batsman’ emphasising the need for adherence to electoral regulations.

“Numerous applications from candidates, attempting to manipulate the system, have flooded the Election Commission, prompting concerns of deception and violations of electoral laws,” it said.

The order stated that any attempt to deceive the election commission by seeking an election symbol from a party other than one’s own constitutes a breach of the law.

The ECP s order explicitly states that candidates, who are already members of a political party, are prohibited from requesting the symbol of another party, directing returning officers (ROs) not to grant any alternative election symbol to such candidates.

Referring to the Election Act, it highlighted that a candidate must present a party affiliation certificate, emphasising that an individual cannot simultaneously belong to more than one political party.

Read More: Election 2024: ECP extends deadline to submit party tickets

The Commission reiterated the importance of following legal procedures, citing the Supreme Court decision in the Habib Akram case.

“Violation of Section 66 of the Election Act, 2017, was emphasized by the spokesperson, underscoring that candidates submitting incomplete nomination papers, particularly those neglecting to submit the required affidavit, will face rejection,” it added.

The Election Commission emphasised that candidates must bear the consequences for any false statements made in the affidavit attached to their nomination papers.

The commission pointed out that misrepresentation in the affidavit is clearly defined in the constitution and the law. Referring to the Supreme Court’s order, it was highlighted that the submission of the candidate’s affidavit is mandatory.

Any misrepresentation in the nomination papers will be treated as a misrepresentation before the Supreme Court, subjecting the candidate to the same consequences as making false statements before the highest judicial authority.

 

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