ECP warns KP against use of govt resources for campaigning

ISLAMABAD: In a rare warning against the use of the provincial government’s helicopter and state resources for electioneering, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday said the upcoming by-election in four National Assembly constituencies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could be postponed if the provincial government did not comply with the code of conduct.

The commission, which met here with Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja in the chair, to consider continued violations of the code of conduct by KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and his cabinet members, who are campaigning for PTI Chairman Imran Khan, who is the party’s sole candidate for the four constituencies: Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan and Kurram. By-elections in these constituencies are scheduled for Oct 16.

The meeting was attended by ECP members and secretary, KP chief secretary and advocate general.

The ECP made it clear that if the provincial government did not comply with the code of conduct and cooperate with it with regards to the electoral exercise, the commission would be forced to postpone by-elections in the province.

Commission says it will postpone by-elections if top govt officials keep violating electoral code of conduct

The commission also decided to hold a formal hearing in the matter and ordered the office to issue necessary notices in this regard.

Annoyed by the unabated violation of the ECP code despite notices issued and warnings given to the KP chief minister and his cabinet members, the CEC directed the chief secretary and the advocate general to tell the KP government that the ECP would not tolerate violation of the code of conduct under any circumstances.

“The Election Commission shall exercise its constitutional powers under Article 218(3) to ensure that all political parties and candidates have equal opportunities in the elections. The Election Commission will take immediate legal action against all parties, candidates and others responsible for violating the Constitution, law and code of conduct by exercising its all constitutional and legal powers,” he emphasised. The commission asked the chief secretary to convey the ECP’s message to his government to ensure compliance with the law and as the chief secretary, he was also committed to ensuring peaceful elections in the province.

“Therefore, ensure that all such steps are taken to ensure peaceful conduct of by-elections,” the ECP meeting told the CS.

The commission had recently issued a statement regretting that the provincial government’s helicopter and resources were being blatantly used in the campaign for by-polls.

The ECP statement was issued in the wake of a video clip making the rounds on social media, showing PTI Chairman Imran Khan reaching Charsadda in the KP government’s helicopter to address a public rally.

Last week, the ECP twice served notices on former premier Imran Khan, KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and other provincial ministers as well as fined them for addressing and attending a political rally and using state resources in violation of the ECP code.

In March this year, the ECP declared the PTI to have committed most violations of the code of conduct during the campaign for the second phase of KP local government elections. The then-premier Imran Khan and KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan had topped the list of repeated violators despite warnings.

Former minister Murad Saeed was fined Rs50,000 each for participating in three public rallies for the same polls against the election code.

The same month, former minister Ali Amin Gandapur’s brother Umar was disqualified from contesting for a mayoral slot over code violation in KP LG polls, while JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s brother Ziaur Rehman was also served a notice over violations.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2022

from The Dawn News – Home



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