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PPP gets 'sword' as election symbol after 41 years.

Byline: Iftikhar A. Khan

ISLAMABAD -- The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Tuesday succeeded in clinching 'sword' as its election symbol after 41 long years following a legal battle but only as a political tactic not to allow any rival to get the symbol.

The party would contest the general elections on the symbol of 'arrow' under the banner of an alliance between the PPP led by Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and the PPP-Parliamentarians (PPP-P) headed by former president Asif Ali Zardari, said the spokesperson for the PPP chairman.

'Sword' was among the three symbols that were deleted from the list of election symbols during the days of former military ruler Gen Ziaul Haq after 1977 polls the other two being plough and scales.

A full bench of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), headed by Chief Election Commissioner retd Justice (CEC) Sardar Muhammad Raza and comprising four members of the commission, met here to take up disputes over election symbols. There were four contenders for the symbol of 'sword' the PPP, the PPP-Workers led by Safdar Abbasi, the PPP-Shaheed Bhutto headed by Ghinva Bhutto and the Peoples' Movement of Pakistan led by Dr Tanvir Zamani.

ECP settles BNP-NP dispute over 'saw' by allotting the symbol to the former

Giving arguments before the ECP, Nayyar Bokhari of the PPP said the PPP led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had contested the 1970 and 1977 elections with the symbol of 'sword'. He said the symbol had been deleted from the list and then restored in 2013.

He said the party was now led by Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, granAdson of late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and son of Benazir Bhutto.

'We have applied for the symbol and it is our right,' Mr Bohkari insisted. He said the PPP-Workers had nothing to do with the PPP and its symbol.

Safdar Abbasi argued that the PPP had contested the 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1997 elections with the symbol of 'arrow'. He said at that time there was a problem with the registration of the PPP and consequently the PPP-P was formed. 'Now there is a confusion which party Asif Zardari is heading. They (the two PPPs) meet together and both Bilawal Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari are seen (in the meetings),' he said.

Mr Abbasi said the PPP just wanted to block the symbol of 'sword' and would contest elections with the symbol of 'arrow'. He asked the PPP to submit a declaration that it would contest polls with the symbol of 'sword', which followed an exchange of hot words between Mr Abbasi and Nayyar Bokhari, with the latter questioning the former's standing to ask for an affidavit from the PPP.

A representative of the Peoples' Movement of Pakistan said since there was a dispute between the PPP and the PPP-Workers, the symbol of 'sword' should not be allotted to either of them but to his party.

The commission after hearing all sides reserved the judgment for a brief time and then announced allotment of the symbol to the PPP.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) withdrew from its tradition symbol of 'cycle' and sought 'tractor' as its election symbol. Another contender for the symbol of 'tractor' was the Pakistan Kissan Party which said the symbol was in line with the name and manifesto of the party and, therefore, should be given to it.

The PML-Q said it was its right as the party had representation in parliament. The commission decided in favour of the PML-Q and allocated the symbol of 'tractor' to it.

Another dispute was over the symbol of 'saw' between Mir Hasil Bizenjo's National Party and Dr Abdul Hayee Baloch's Balochistan National Movement. The symbol was allotted to the latter, as was the case in last elections. The Awami League and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaniat had a dispute over the symbol of 'hockey'. The former was given 'hockey' and the latter the symbol of 'comb'.

The Muttahida Qaumi Party was allotted the symbol of 'turban' and the Awami League was allocated the symbol of 'human hand'. When the CEC and other members of the commission were about to leave, Dr Farooq Sattar of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-PIB Colony and Amir Khan of the MQM-Bahadurabad asked about the election symbol of MQM. The CEC said the commission had allotted the symbol of 'kite' to the MQM. He said the cases where there was no dispute had not been touched.

He said out of the total 110 registered political parties, 88 had applied for election symbols. There was dispute over the cases of 11 which has been decided. He said the rest of the political parties would continue to retain the symbols allocated to them in previous elections. He said summary of 77 political parties where there was no dispute would be formally approved by the commission.

This means the PML-N will retain its traditional symbol of 'tiger', the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (bat), Jamaat-i-Islami (scale), PPP-P (arrow), ANP (lantern), Awami Muslim League (inkpot) and Tabdeeli Pasand Party (crown).
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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:May 30, 2018
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