The two major political parties of the country, the Pakistan People`s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), skipped a consultative meeting convened by the Election Commission on Tuesday to discuss key issues, including application of Article 62 of the Constitution that spells out eligibility criteria for lawmakers. In all, 15 political parties had been invited to attend the session, but a representative of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-S turned up uninvited, informed sources told Dawn. Representatives of all the parties agreed that the limit on election expenditure should be enhanced to Rs5 million from Rs1.5 million for every National Assembly seat and to Rs3 million from Rs1 million for each provincial assembly seat. A majority of the participants was of the view that security deposit submitted with nomination papers should be increased from Rs4,000 to Rs20,000 for a National Assembly seat and from Rs2,000 to Rs10,000 for a provincial assembly seat. It was also proposed that Rs100,000 should be fixed as security deposit for �non-serious� independent candidates. Abdul Qadir Khanzada of MQM suggested that the security deposit of candidates who failed to secure one-fourth of the total votes should be confiscated. Under the present law the security deposit of candidates who fail to secure one-eighth of the votes is confiscated. The representatives of political parties stressed the need for implementing Article 62 of the Constitution, but observed that the disqualification clause needed to be simplified. The participants also endorsed the proposal for allocation of permanent election symbols to the political parties. The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI), who were both seeking �weigh balance (tarazoo)� as election symbol were asked to resolve the issue, otherwise the matter would be placed before the Election Commission for final decision. It was agreed that �ridiculous� election symbols like ladyfinger and carrot should be deleted from the list of symbols. The participants also agreed that confusing symbols which looked similar should be omitted from the list. Prominent amongst those who attended the meeting were Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Mushahid Hussain Sayed (PML-Q), Liaquat Baloch (Jamaat-i-Islami), Maulana Muhammad Khan Shirani and Maulana Gul Naseeb (JUI-F), Abdul Qadir Khanzada (MQM), Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli (PPP-S) and Hashim Babar (PTI).
By: Dawn News