Taking another step towards holding of the general election, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday allotted traditional election symbols to 77 political parties while a ‘leading’ party of the past opted for a new symbol.
The commission maintained that some 70 parties had no dispute over or counter-claim to their election symbols and hence were eligible for them.
PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari opted for ‘sword’ with which late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had contested the general election. The PPP-Parliamentarians (PPPP) led by Asif Ali Zardari was allotted ‘arrow’.
The PPP had to form PPP-P to meet the requirements of a ‘decree’ issued by General Pervez Musharraf. A law was framed to bar Benazir Bhutto from holding a party office, leading to establishment of a new political party with a bid to averting the imminent threat of losing the chance of taking part in elections.
Former chairman Senate and PPP veteran Nayyar Bukhari, who represented the Bilawal-led PPP before the Election Commission, explained that the party had contested the 1970 election with ‘sword’ as its symbol; however, after Zia imposed martial law, the symbol was removed from the Election Commission’s list.
He insisted that to have a symbol of its choice was his party’s right. The commission put aside the arguments of former PPP senior leader Safdar Abbasi that the PPP was only blocking the symbol allotment to his party so that no other party could use it and would contest the election on the traditional ‘arrow’ symbol.
He contended that the ‘sword’ as symbol should therefore be allotted to his party — PPP-Workers. The PPP-P spokesperson later clarified that the party would contest the upcoming election with ‘arrow’ as its symbol in continuation with recent elections.
The PML-N will contest the election on its traditional ‘lion’ symbol while the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will go to election with ‘bat’ as its symbol. This symbol was denied to PTI-Gulalai, who decided to challenge it in a court of law.
Jamaat-i-Islami will contest election with ‘scales’ as its symbol, whereas Awami National Party (ANP) will contest the election with ‘lantern’ as symbol. Sheikh Rasheed’s Awami Muslim League (AML) will use ‘pen’ as the party symbol.
The ECP says a party has the right to seek allotment of the same symbol with which it contested a previous election and hence a political party is given preference for a particular symbol if the symbol had been allotted to it in a previous election before entering into an alliance with other parties.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) was allotted ‘kite’ as symbol after both Amir Khan and Farooq Sattar appeared before the commission and said their internal conflict had nothing to do with the election symbol, which should be allotted to the party.
The PML-Q opted for ‘tractor’ as symbol although the Pakistan Kissan Ittehad was also in the running for the symbol. The Ittehad had to be content with ‘plough’ as its election symbol.