PESHAWAR: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued a show-cause notice on Friday to an independent candidate for the NA-4 Peshawar by-poll for supporting "proscribed organisation" Milli Muslim League (MML), an offshoot of the Jamaatud Dawa (JuD).
Under the ECP’s code of conduct, a contestant cannot display support for another party during a by-election.
Moreover, the candidate, Haji Liaquat Ali Khan, was also asked to explain why his banners exceeded the size approved by the polls supervisory body.
“You [the candidate] are advised through the notice to submit a written reply to the ECP in connection with your adherence to the code of conduct notified by the ECP, failing which strict action will be taken under the law,” read the show-cause notice issued by Returning Officer Muhammad Ishaq Khan.
JuD launches political party to contest upcoming polls
The written reply, the notice read, should be submitted to the ECP within three days of the issuance of the show-cause notice.
The by-poll in the constituency will be held on October 26. The seat fell vacant after the death of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Gulzar Khan.
Twenty-five candidates have filed their nomination papers for the by-election. A tough contest is expected between the PTI, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and the Awami National Party.
Earlier this week, the MML, which was founded in August, opened an office in Peshawar and announced its support for Haji Liaquat.
Interior ministry tells ECP not to register MML
Saifullah Khalid, the son-in-law of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, is the president of the MML which surprised everyone last month when its candidate, Yaqoob Sheikh, managed to bag 5,822 votes on September 17’s by-election in NA-120 Lahore, surpassing JI and the Pakistan People's Party.
Last week, the Ministry of Interior had told the ECP to avoid registering MML as a political entity, maintaining that allowing such parties to flourish will fuel violence and extremism in domestic politics.
The JuD and its wing the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) were placed on the Second Schedule under Section 11-EEE(1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 in January this year.
The interior ministry said the MML “is ideologically affiliated with JuD and equally there is evidence to substantiate that Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), JuD and FIF are affiliates and are ideologically of the same shade”. The LeT was proscribed in January 2002.