A returning officer for the by-elections on the PK-8, Peshawar-VIII seat called the adviser to the prime minister, Amir Muqam, to explain his alleged violation of the code of conduct ahead of by-polls.
A candidate for the constituency submitted an application against Muqam for holding a public gathering in the constituency. He said the gathering was aimed at manipulating the by-elections scheduled for May 12 and gaining an advantage for his party.
He appeared before Returning Officer Inayatullah Khan Wazir who read out the candidate’s application and sought Muqam’s response.
“We have received complaints that you tried to influence the elections in favour of PML-N candidate Arbab Waseem Daudzai by using your office,” Wazir told the PM’s adviser. “We are here to hold free and fair elections.”
He said ECP served him a notice to ensure that polling was fair and transparent. In his response, Muqam denied holding any rally or public gathering.
“I attended a condolence reference for Arbab Akbar Hayat at his hujra where I was asked to say a few words on the life of the MPA,” he said.
Muqam added he later went to the hujra of Rashid Khan, a PML-N leader, and met people who presented their problems. The PM’s adviser said he merely assured them of cooperation, adding this area was not in PK-8, but PK-9.
“People asked for reduction in the duration of unscheduled load-shedding,” he said. “I receive people from all over the province and listen to them in public interest.”
Talking to media after the hearing, Muqam said PTI chief Imran Khan’s rally in Peshawar on Monday (today) was not a “big challenge”.
“Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has spent three years [in power] and has not brought the change they promised,” he said. “The public have recognised their true face.”
To a question on the Panama leaks, Muqam said the government has taken all the steps to meet the opposition’s demands of an investigation.
Muqam took the chance to take a swipe at the provincial government for changing the K-P Ehtesab Commission Act, 2014 and removing the director of the Anti-Corruption Establishment.
He also raised the Bank of Khyber issue and asked the government to at least investigate the matter through the high court. “They should feel ashamed that the bank is running an advertisement against the government and they are investigating it through the Cabinet,” he said.
Against the code
Muqam and the PML-N candidate demanded of the returning officer that Pakistan Army be deployed at polling stations.
The ECP removed 45 billboards in the constituency on Friday based on the complaints of candidates.
Wazir told The Express Tribune ECP told Imran and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman not to hold rallies in the constituency in support of their candidates. “They will be called here and we will write to the chief election commissioner against those who violate the code of conduct and this may lead to disqualification.”
The PK-8 returning officer sent a letter to the K-P election commissioner over the “irresponsible attitude” of city district nazim Muhammad Asim Khan.
In his letter, Wazir said ECP took exception to the failure of Muhammad Asim and officers of the communication and works department to appear before him to explain violations of the code of conduct.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2016.
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