Political Parties In Race Against Time To Submit Asset Details To ECP

Should political parties fail to submit the mandatory details prior to deadline, the poll body can take strict action against the parties, including disqualification

Political Parties In Race Against Time To Submit Asset Details To ECP

The country's top political parties are in danger of being disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan from the upcoming general elections, whenever they are held since they have failed to submit their statement of accounts for the financial year 2022-23 as a key deadline nears.

Should the political parties fail to submit the mandatory information, the top election body will be authorised to take disciplinary action against these parties.

Political parties have until August 29, 2023, to submit their statement of accounts. The commission is unlikely to extend the date for parties to submit details of their financial assets.

Thus far, the electoral watchdog has issued three reminders to the heads of all political parties and factions to submit their consolidated statement of accounts for the outgoing financial year, officials said.

Meanwhile, political sources say the political parties are in the process of finalising their financial details for submission to the commission, which closely examines the details.

All registered political parties are required under Section- 210 of the Elections Act, 2017, and Election Rules 159 and 160, to submit details of their financial health, while no excuse is acceptable to avoid submitting their details.

According to the section-210 of the Election Act: "A political party shall, in such a manner as may be prescribed, submit to the commission, within sixty days from the close of a financial year, a consolidated statement of its accounts audited by a Chartered Accountant on Form-D containing: Annual income and expenses; sources of its funds and assets and liabilities."

Apart from the audit report prepared by a chartered accountancy firm, the party must also submit a certificate from a party office-bearer duly authorised by the party head to do so. 

The certificate should contain following information:

(i) No funds were received by the party from any source prohibited under the Elections Act, 2017.

(ii) The statement of accounts contains an accurate picture of the financial position of the party.

(iii) The information given above is correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.

(iv) The statement is audited by the chartered accountant, and detailed report thereof is annexed.

The statement of accounts is to be submitted on Form-D, as provided in the Elections Act, 2017. Printed forms are available, free of cost, in the Election Commission Secretariat, Islamabad and in the offices of the Provincial Election commissioners in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

It was also instructed that overwriting should be avoided. The membership/certificate issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) in respect of the auditor engaged shall be annexed to Form-D along with the last valid renewal certificate. The subject statement shall be addressed to the Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan before the given time.