‘Ticket Fees’ Generating Major Revenue for Pakistani Parties

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Election candidature fee sparks debate among political parties
In the lead-up to the upcoming elections, political parties such as PML-N and PTI have implemented non-refundable fees for aspiring candidates, with each party charging Rs200,000 for those seeking election to the National Assembly. Despite being criticized for being exclusionary, there is no law prohibiting this practice and it has become a common part of electoral politics in Pakistan. Critics argue that this is making it difficult for the common man to participate in politics, as the fees ensure that only those with significant financial resources can run for office. Additionally, political parties receive large donations from business figures, which compromises the democratic right of any citizen to run for public office. There are calls for more transparency surrounding the financial aspect of political campaigns in order to hold parties and candidates accountable. Despite the controversy, some politicians argue that the high cost of candidature is necessary to filter out “non-serious contenders.” Political parties in 2018 generated considerable funds and spent significantly on election campaigns. The PTI, for example, raised around Rs600 million and spent Rs360 million, while the PML-N and PPPP also managed substantial income in 2018. Ultimately, while the practice of charging election fees remains contentious, it has become a significant source of income for some political parties.

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