Two PTI federal ministers in hot water over by-poll electioneering

The ministers reportedly accompanied the contesting candidate as they announced development schemes


Irfan Ghauri October 05, 2018
The ministers reportedly accompanied the contesting candidate as they announced development schemes. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The returning officer for Punjab Assembly constituency PP-27 Jhelum, where by-polls are scheduled for October 14, has issued notices to two federal ministers for running election campaigns for the ruling party’s candidate in violation of the law.

Khursheed Alam, district election commissioner (DEC) Jehlum, who is also a returning officer for PP-27, on Friday issued notices to two key ministers in Prime Minister Imran Khan's cabinet; Fawad Chaudhry minister for information and Ghulam Sarwar Khan, minister for petroleum.

The notices were issued after the monitoring teams of the Election Commission of Pakistan complained that they had participated in the campaigns in the constituency.

The ministers reportedly accompanied the contesting candidate and announced development schemes while addressing a public gathering in Khewara, a small town falling in the jurisdiction of the constituency.

Taking notice of complains filed by the monitoring teams, DEC has asked both the ministers to appear in person or through their counsel on October 9 to explain their position.

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If the ministers did not comply to the directives or failed to satisfy the concerns of the RO, the official would refer their case to the ECP for further action.

Section 233 of the Election Act, 2017 and ECP’s code of conduct for elections bars ministers from visiting their constituencies and announcing any schemes once the election schedule has been announced.

The law also bars, prime minister, chief ministers, their cabinet members from taking part in electioneering.

Khurseed Alam as DEC few years back had served similar notices to Imran Khan and Hamza Shahbaz when they had participated in a by-elections campaign in Jehlum from where incumbent information minister Fawad Chahdury was contesting polls.

Fawad had lost those polls. However, he was elected to the National Assembly constituency from Jehlum in this year’s general elections.

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