ECP allots election symbols: Arrow under conflict

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan on Tuesday allotted election symbols to 144 political parties for the general elections, but the Pakistan Peoples Party was not among them.

It so happened because three party factions have claimed that they are the real PPP and hence should be given the arrow as election symbol.

The Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians, Ghinwa Bhutto’s PPP-Shaheed Bhutto and the Naheed Khan-led party have all claimed their parties to be the actual PPP.

The ECP asked all three to appear before it on March 25 with relevant proof to back their stances.

Ghinwa’s lawyer had previously based his claim on heredity laws, saying her son (Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Junior) was the true heir of PPP’s founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Naheed Khan, a close aid to the late Benazir Bhutto, had recently moved the election authorities to register a new party with the name PPP and had argued that the PPP that contested the 2002 and 2008 elections had done so as PPPP.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is the co-Chairman of the PPP as per the purported will of Benazir. However, under legal status this party is registered as the PPPP and not PPP.

Sources in ECP said under the law, it was likely that PPPP would be allotted the arrow as it contested the last two elections under the same symbol. But they added it would be difficult for them to stop Naheed’s faction getting registered as PPP as she was the first one to apply for the name after the ruling party opted for the PPPP name.

Since Ghinwa’s faction is already registered as PPP-Shaheed Bhutto and has contested past elections on another symbol, her plea is likely to be rejected, sources said.

On the other hand, most of the other mainstream political parties were given their traditional symbols. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was allotted the tiger. Muttahida Qaumi Movement got the kite symbol, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid the cycle and Jamaat-i-Islami the scale. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will contest the elections under the bat symbol.

Likewise, Awami National Party retained the symbol of lantern and Pakistan Muslim League-Functional got the symbol rose.

Another controversy brewed when the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam -F was allotted the closed book by the ECP, as opposed to an open book it actually wanted. The matter will now be decided by the Islamabad High Court

Nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s party Tehreek-e-Tahaffuz-e-Pakistan was allotted the missile.

Former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League will contest the elections under the eagle symbol.

Former federal minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad’s Awami Muslim League Pakistan was given the inkpot with a pen symbol.

Balochistan National Party got its traditional symbol of axe. Balochistan National Party-Awami got the camel.

Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party was allotted the tree symbol.

The most sought after symbols of sun and crescent went to the Pakistan Christian Movement and Hazara Democratic Party respectively through a draw. Sunni Ittehad Council won the symbol of horse through the draw.