Thursday, July 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

3 Pak parties may be out of poll arena

Islamabad, July 3
The three major political parties of the country — the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz group), the Pakistan People’s Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement — may not be allowed to contest the October elections if they do not remove their present top leadership.

According to sources, the newly enforced Political Parties Order (PPO), 2002, and the draft constitutional package together provide an interpretation of law where the Election Commission could prevent a political party, headed by a convict or absconder, from contesting the elections.

A constitutional expert said the PPO, 2002, could possibly be interpreted in a manner to bar a political party headed by a person who is disqualified to be a member of Parliament from contesting elections.

The Election Commission of Pakistan, the expert said, could ask the political party concerned to replace its leader who is disqualified to head the party. In case the party does not replace its leader and continues to be headed by a disqualified leader then a decision could be taken by the election commission to ban such a party from contesting the elections, a source said.

The present top leadership of the PML, the PPP and the MQM — Mr Nawaz Sharif, Ms Benazir Bhutto and Mr Altaf Hussain, respectively, are disqualified under these conditions to head their respective political parties because either they are convicts or proclaimed absconders in different cases.

Every political party desiring to take part in the elections is required to complete its intra-party elections in accordance with the party constitution by August 5, 2002. ANI

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