ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Tuesday has decided to go ahead with its rally in Jhelum today (Wednesday) despite the election commission’s warnings against the violation of its code of conduct.
In response to the Election Commission of Pakistan’s notice, PTI spokesperson Naeemul Haq said that Jhelum was an important part of the party’s march and its accountability movement. He further said that the party had not received any written notice from the election commission, barring it to hold a public rally in Jhelum.
The ECP had earlier in the day asked PTI chief Imran Khan to follow the code of conduct for elections and not hold a public rally within the limits of NA-63, Jhelum, where by-elections are scheduled to take place on August 31.
“What objections could the ECP have over Imran Khan addressing the public,” Haq questioned in a press release issued by the party’s media department.
PTI’s campaign, Tehreek-e-Ehtisaab, has been launched to press for an investigation on Panama leaks by a judicial commission under terms of reference set by the opposition.
He further said that the PTI chairman Imran Khan will hold a public rally in Gujranwala after the one in Jhelum.
District election commissioner Jhelum Khursheed Alam, in a letter, reminded Imran that the ECP code of conduct bars prime minister, ministers, advisors to prime minister, president, chief ministers and members of national and provincial assemblies from addressing large scale rallies in the constituencies where by-elections are scheduled.
Imran Khan had announced to hold rallies in Khewra, Dharayal Jalib, Pinanwal, Jalalpur Sharif of Tehsil Pind Dadan Khan of district Jhelum. Some of these areas fall under the jurisdiction of NA-63.
DEC Jhelum has also issued a notice to MNA Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, Punjab chief minister’s son, for visiting different areas of Jhelum and running a campaign for the PML-N candidate on August 22.
The DEC has directed Hamza to explain his position within 48 hours. DEC has warned Hamaza of legal action if he fails to give a satisfactory response to ECP.
Similar notice has also been issued to Raja Matloob Mehdi, PML-N candidate from the constituency.
The district administration of Jhelum also declined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s request to hold a public gathering in the city.
Following a warning issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan, the district coordination officer, in a letter to the PTI’s district president Nadeem Afzal Bunty, declined permission to the party to hold a gathering at the Syed Zamir Hussain Jafri stadium.
The DCO in its letter said that if PTI continued to hold any rally, the responsibility of any untoward incident or any loss to public property would lie with the party.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2016.