ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday allotted electoral symbols to candidates for the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections, some of which have raised eyebrows.
The electoral watchdog, despite the fact the PML-N does not fielding any candidate, allotted random symbols to even the party’s bigwigs.
Hamza Shahbaz, a former PML-N member who is contesting as an independent candidate from PP-145, was given the electoral symbol of “Peacock”.
Meanwhile, Waqar Ahmed of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was assigned his party’s symbol, the “bat”. In PP-147, Hamza Shahbaz received the “BOAT” symbol, while the PTI’s Ghulam Mohiuddin Dewan was given the party symbol.
Maryam Nawaz, another former PML-N member, will contest from PP-173 with the symbol of “Tandoor”. Her opponent, the PTI’s Dr. Yasmin Rashid, was also given her party’s symbol. Saiful Malook Khokhar of PML-N was awarded the symbol of “Traffic Signal” in PP-167, while the PTI’s Malik Nadeem Abbas Bara will contest against him on the party ticket.
In PP-144, 34 candidates were allocated election symbols, with 28 of them running as independent candidates. Despite this, Rana Faqir Hussain from the People’s Party and Muhammad Yasser from PTI were given their respective party symbols. Similarly, in PP-145, 27 candidates received symbols, with 21 of them contesting as independent candidates. The PTI’s Muhammad Asif and the Jamaat-e-Islami’s Muhammad Sulaiman were given their party’s symbols.
The assignment of seemingly arbitrary symbols to candidates has been met with criticism from various quarters, with some questioning the neutrality of the Election Commission. However, the commission has defended its decision, stating that the symbols were allotted through a transparent and impartial process.
With the allocation of election symbols now complete, the focus will shift to the candidates’ campaigns and their efforts to woo voters ahead of the polling day.