ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan is set to move a summary to the prime minister seeking full financial autonomy and independence as envisaged in the 18th Amendment and the electoral laws. The proposal would be a significant step towards eliminating government interference and political meddling in electoral process. The 18th Amendment adequately provides for the provisions of complete administrative and financial autonomy for the ECP. Its passage has delegated all the vital powers to the Election Commission that were previously entrusted to the chief election commissioner. The Election Commission exercises its administrative powers with a great degree of autonomy but has to rely on the Finance Ministry, when it comes to financial independence, for the allocation and approval of required funds, a scenario that compromises the ECP independence owing to its dependence on government departments. A top-level meeting Wednesday chaired by the Chief Election Commissioner Justice (r) Hamid Ali Mirza and attended by four ECP members and the Commissions senior administrative staff, the ECP formally approved the aforesaid summary to be sent to the PMs Secretariat after Ashura holidays. The PM may take up the summary with his Cabinet for approval, following which it would come into force immediately. Under the prevailing circumstances, the Election Commission is autonomous in purchasing new equipment and logistical items that it needs in the line of its official responsibilities within the sanctioned budget but the funds sanction and allocation is authorised to the Ministry of Finance that entails a lengthy procedure involving the Auditor General of Pakistan Revenues (AGPR) and Accountant General of Pakistan (AGP). With general elections likely not very far away, the ECP sources say, the Commission is set to purchase some 200,000 sophisticated Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) that would require at least Rs 5 to 6 billion as the market cost per EVM varies from Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 depending upon its efficiency and related features. On July 21 this year, the ECP, in a meeting with the officials of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), its parent department Finance Ministry, Establishment Division, AGPR, AGP and Cabinet Division pressed that the Commission was an independent body and it was not to be governed by the directives of federal government. In the same meeting, the Election Commission officials cited a Finance Ministry notification, issued back in the year 2000, and questioned the basis of governments interference in ECP affairs. The same notification provides for absolute autonomy for Election Commission in administrative, financial and all the related official matters on the same patterns the superior judiciary and parliament exercise their independence on. Meanwhile, an official statement on Wednesday said the documents submitted by the nine newly formed political parties were found to be in conformity with the provisions of the Political Parties Odder 2002. They included, Tehreek-i-Istehkaam Pakistan, Islamic Republican Party, Roshan Pakistan League, Pakistan Rah-e-Haq Party, Jammat Aalay Kalam Ullah wa Farmaan Rasool, Jannat Pakistan Party, Pakistan Mohajar League, Pakistan Peoples Alliance and Bahawalpur National Awami Party. The electoral symbols were allotted to the already registered three political parties. Tehreek Sooba Hazara got the electoral symbol of truck, cup and saucer went to Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan while wrench was allotted to Mustaqbil Pakistan. The Commission also approved providing text messaging facility to the public for checking their vote registration and related particulars against Rs 2 per text.