Article 3 of the Political Parties Order declares that it is “lawful for any body of individuals or associations of citizens to form, organize, continue, or set-up a political party.”
Political party is an association of citizens or a combination of such associations formed with a view to propagating or influencing political opinion and participating in elections for any elective public office or for membership of a legislative body (Art. 2, clause [d] The Political Parties Order). The Constitution and Political Parties Order also declared that all citizens, not being in the service of Pakistan, are given the right to form or join a political party.
Around 270 political parties are enlisted with the Election Commission of Pakistan. Among the major parties are:
All Pakistan Muslim League: national party founded by Pervez Musharaff on August 14, 2010. It participated initially in the elections but boycotted in 2013. The party focuses on issues pertaining to economic development.
Awami National Party (ANP): provincial party founded in 1986 by Khan Abdul Wali Khan. It favors relationship improvement with the neighboring countries, Afghanistan and India. It is also geared towards liberal and progressive policies, focusing on tolerance and human rights. The party earned parliamentary seats in 1988, 1990, 1993, 1996, 2002, 2008 and 2013.
Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M): provincial party founded by Sardar Attaullah Mengal in 1996. A strong proponent of Provincial autonomy and Baloch nationalism, the party tend to focus in addressing the current unrest in Balochistan. It earned seats in Parliament in 1997 and 2013; boycotted the 2002 and 2008 elections.
Jammat-e-Islami: founded by Syed Abul Ala Maududi in 1941 as a national party. Its stand is on the establishment of a real Islamic Welfare state, restoration of national independence and sovereignty as well as self-reliance. It strongly supports legislation with Islamic elements. The party is also critical regarding the issues of ‘war on terror’ and alliance with the US. It had parliament representation in 1970, 1988, 2002 and 2013; boycotted the election in 1997 and 2008.
Jamiat e Ulama e Islam (Fazar-ur-Rehman) (JUI-F): a national party founded in 1945 by Allama Shabbir Ahmed Usmani. A religio-political party, it strongly supports the enforcement of the Sharia Law as opposed to liberal and progressive policies. It opposes the military operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and advocated negotiations with the Taliban regarding the issues. It participated in the elections of 1970, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2002 and 2008.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement: founded in 1984 by ALtaf Hussain and Azeem Ahmed Tariq. It initially focused on the Urdu speaking areas but began to spread throughout the country as well. It is against extremism and condemns religious fanaticism. Opposing feudalism and aiming for land reforms in Pakistan, the party supports US and Western alliance; and is strongly against Talibanisation. It participated in the 1988, 1990, 1997, 2002, 2008 and 2013 elections.
National Party: founded by Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo and Abdul Hayee Baloch in 2003, focusing on Balochistan. It is an advocate of liberal and democratic ideals and is aiming for provincial autonomy as well as the protection of the rights of the Baloch people. The boycotted the 2008 elections but earned representation in parliament in 2013.
Pakistan Muslim League-Functional: a provincial party founded in 1985 by Syed Shah Mardan Shah Rashidi-Pir of Pagaria. Issues of focus is towards the unity of Sindh and the opposition to the Sindh Peoples Local Government Act 2012. It earned seats in the parliament in 2002, 2008 and 2013.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz: national party founded in 1993 by Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. It focuses on issues relating to economic reform and good governance. It also supports the relationship with other Arab countries and with the US. It is also in favor of normalizing the relations with India. Occupied parliamentary seats in 1993, 1997, 2002, 2008 and 2013.
Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-i-Azam) PML (Q): founded by Mian Muhammad Azhar in 2002 as a national party. One of its visions is building a strong democratic state. Provincial autonomy is believed to be vital to that vision. Earned parliamentary seats in 2002, 2008 and 2013.
Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians: national party founded by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1967 which is geared towards economic development, civil liberties, human rights, women and minority rights as well as domestic politics. It also advocates improving relationships with India, Iran, China as well as the US. Occupied parliament seats in 1970, 1977, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1996, 2002, 2008 and 2013.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf: a national party founded in 1996 by Imran Khan. It envisions a welfare state with real democracy that includes rule of law and an independent judiciary. It also promotes Islamic values and an independent foreign policy. It boycotted the 2008 elections; and earned seats in the 2002 and 2013 elections.
Pashtunkhwa Mili Awami Party-PkMAP: a provincial party founded by Mahmood Khan Achakzai in 1989. It is aiming for a separate Pashtun province which would be comprised of Pushto speaking areas of Balochistan. It also envisions just representation of different nationalities in the political system, greater provincial autonomy and equal representation of the Provinces in the Senate. The party occupied seats in 1990, 1993, 1997, 2002 1nd 2013 elections.
Qaumi Watan Party: founded by Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao in 2012 as a provincial party that focuses on the promotion and protection of the rights of the Pushtoons in Pakistan and in abroad. The party is advocating anti-extremism and militancy; works towards reconstruction of areas that experienced militancy as well as the rehabilitation of people. Also part of its advocacy is calling for a political solution to terrorism. Furthermore, it supports development on educational and health facilities, as well as providing job opportunities for people in these areas. It earned seats in the 2013 elections.
Major Political Parties Profile. (n.d.). Retrieved from Pakvoter.org:
PDF : List of Political Parties Enlisted with Election Commission of Pakistan
LINK : Symbols Alloted to Political Parties
PDF : Symbols Allotted to Piolitical Parties for General Elections- 2013
PDF : Revised List of Election Symbols
LINK : Voter turnout data for Pakistan (International IDEA)
LINK : Awami National Party (Elections.com – Pakistan Elections 2012-2013)
LINK : Balochistan National Party (Elections.com – Pakistan Elections 2012-2013)
LINK : Jamiat Ulam-e-Islam Pakistan (Elections.com – Pakistan Elections 2012-2013)
LINK : Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) (Elections.com – Pakistan Elections 2012-2013)
LINK : Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) (Elections.com – Pakistan Elections 2012-2013)
LINK : National Alliance (NA) (Elections.com – Pakistan Elections 2012-2013)
LINK : Pakistan Awami Tehreek (Elections.com – Pakistan Elections 2012-2013)
LINK : Pakistan Muslim League (F) (Elections.com – Pakistan Elections 2012-2013)
LINK : Pakistan Muslim League (N) (Elections.com – Pakistan Elections 2012-2013)
LINK : Pakistan Muslim League (Elections.com – Pakistan Elections 2012-2013)
LINK : Pakistan Muslim League (Z) (Elections.com – Pakistan Elections 2012-2013)
LINK : Pakistan Peoples Party (Shaheed Bhutto) (Elections.com – Pakistan Elections 2012-2013)
LINK : Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (Elections.com – Pakistan Elections 2012-2013)
LINK : The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) (Elections.com – Pakistan Elections 2012-2013)
LINK : Pakistan elections: The contenders (The Telegraph: 2013)