RAWALPINDI: Candidates contesting for the national and provincial assembly seats during the general elections are violating clear-cut instructions from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Lahore High Court (LHC), it was observed during a survey of the garrison city by Daily Express.
The election code of conduct has set the size of portraits 2×3 feet; banners 3×9 feet; posters 18×23 inches; and handbills should not be larger than 6×9 inches.
However, candidates have put up huge hoardings at several points of the city in different constituencies. Not only the ECP’s already-set criteria are being violated, but the candidates are also spending a fortune on their election campaign.
Background interviews revealed that some candidates were spending far above the prescribed campaign expenses of ECP.
Massive hoardings, containing the candidates’ picture, the election symbol and an appeal for vote can be seen all over Rawalpindi, in every constituency. The ECP has already determined the size of hoardings and banners candidates may put up as part of their campaign. The candidates have been told not to use walk chalking and put up hoardings or banners on buildings, without the consent of the owner of the property.
But these guidelines have been completely ignored by the vying candidates, as they’ve put up hoardings and banner throughout the city, from official buildings to important roads, roundabouts and residential buildings.
Not only that, their election campaign is also being promoted all over social media as well, with posts for and against their rival candidates, in full swing. The difference of opinion is also now simmering and is set to intensify in the coming days, leading up to the elections.
Among many other guidelines, the ECP has also warned that in no case, the political parties, contesting candidates, election agents or their supporters shall affix posters on walls or any building.
There shall be complete ban on hoardings, billboards, wall chalking, and panaflexes of any size. Violation will be treated as an illegal practice.
In no case the picture of government official shall be printed on any publicity material by any political party candidate.
Posters, portraits and banners affixed by one party shall neither be removed nor distribution of handbills and leaflets be prevented by workers of another party. Violation will be treated as an illegal practice.
No person or political party or a contesting candidate and their supporters shall hoist or fix party flags at any public building or any other public property, except with the permission in writing from local government or authorities and on payment of such fees or charges as may be chargeable.
No political party or candidate shall permit its / his followers to make use of any private land, building, compound wall without permission of owner for erecting flag-staffs and pasting notices.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2018.