ECP to evolve mechanism to end vote-buying

Election supervisor decides to summon AGP over his statement of horse-trading in the apex court


Saqib Virk February 18, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

In order to make the polling process in Senate transparent, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to evolve a mechanism and consult with the political parties in this regard.

The commission has also prepared a draft of the code of conduct for the candidates of the political parties.

The election supervisor has summoned the representatives of all the parliamentary parties before the Senate polls on February 22.

It said that the code of conduct will be issued after consultation with the political parties.

According to the draft, the political parties and candidates will follow all the rules and regulations for the holding of elections in a peaceful and improved manner.

The political parties and their candidates will be bound to follow the directions issued by the ECP from time to time and will refrain from damaging the reputation of the election supervisor.

Nobody will be allowed to speak against the sovereignty, security and stability of the country or pass on comments that affect the independence or sovereignty of the judiciary.

No one will be permitted to damage the reputation of the judiciary and armed forces of Pakistan.

The election candidates will not be allowed to offer any gifts or bribe for the withdrawal of nomination papers. Furthermore, they will not be able to seek any kind of assistance from any government employee or institution.

The candidates will be bound to open specific accounts in scheduled banks for election expenditures. All the donations and assistance amounts will be deposited in these accounts.

All the transactions pertaining to election expenditure will be carried out with the trade bodies/people registered with the GST.

If a person bears the election expenses for a candidate, it will be considered the expense of that candidate.

The expenses include stationery, courier, telegram, advertisement, transportation and others.

All the candidates will be bound to submit their election expenses with the returning officer.

Meanwhile, the ECP took notice of the statement made by the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Court during the hearing of open ballot case in Supreme Court.

Sources said that the ECP has decided to summon the AGP where it will seek evidence in support of his statement.

A day earlier, the AGP had stated that horse-trading was a common practice in the Senate elections.

Showing his reservations, he said that everyone was aware how the elections in the upper house of parliament were held.

He further said that a few people in the federal capital had been sitting with “bags full of money” for the upcoming polls.

The AGP maintained that after the surfacing of the horse-trading video, the procedure for buying votes had changed.

He said this time people will give money through commission agents.

He noted that the payments had not been made until now out of the fear of money going to waste if the apex court decides the case in favour of open ballot.

The AGP said that the payment rate for horse-trading from Dubai was higher.

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