ECP bars public office bearers from visiting NA-249

Officials directed to 'keep an eye on' candidates' election campaigns


Our Correspondent April 14, 2021
Election Commission of Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

KARACHI:

District returning officer for the NA-249 Syed Nadeem Haider directed the Karachi commissioner and South DIG on Tuesday to expel any public office bearers from the constituency, where a by-poll is scheduled to take place on April 29.

According to paragraph 17 of the Election Commission of Pakistan's code of conduct, public representatives, including assembly members and senators, are restricted from participating election campaigns.

In a notification on Tuesday, Haider referred to a letter by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) coordination deputy director, wherein the Sindh election commissioner was directed in paragraphs five and six to ensure the implementation of the ECP's code of conduct.

The letter stated that it had been observed that some clauses of the ECP's code of conduct were not being followed for the NA-249 by-poll and therefore, the relevant deputy commissioner, district police officer and all candidates should be sent a copy of the code of conduct to make it clear to them that they have to follow the rules outlined in it.

In light of the letter, Haider stated that no negligence or violation of the directive for the expulsion of public representatives from the constituency would be tolerated. Besides, he instructed the relevant deputy commissioner and South DIG to task relevant officials with "keeping an eye on" the election campaigns of all candidates contesting the by-poll.

"… if any member of assemblies/ senate of public office bearer tries to visit the constituency, he may be expelled immediately," the notification read.

It further read that the monitoring team should be an active role in ensuring the implementation of the code of conduct and issue directives in that regard to the relevant authorities, as needed. Lawmakers and any other public office bearers should be kept from visiting the NA-249 constituency and the ECP should be informed of any violations of the code of conduct, the notification stated.

Show-cause notices

Earlier, Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Abdul Qadir Patel, MPA Liaquat Ali Aaskani, and Adviser to the Sindh chief minister Waqar Mehdi were issued show-cause notices over taking part in PPP candidate Abdul Qadir Khan Mandokhail's election campaign.

Prior to that, the district monitoring officer of NA-249 had issued directives for the expulsion of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Faisal Vawda and lawmakers Saeed Ahmed and Malik Shehzad Awan from the constituency on Sunday. The directives were issued after Vawda, Ahmed and Awan visited the constituency, reportedly to partake in PTI candidate Amjad Iqbal Afridi's election campaign, despite having been warned against it via a show-cause notice.

The ECP had also summoned Afridi on the matter.

He appeared before the district returning officer and District Monitoring Officer Abdul Rehman Arain on Mondayand submitted his written reply. Afridi was issued last warning for following the election code of conduct, otherwise his disqualification reference would be sent to the ECP.

Moreover, PTI MNA from Mansehra Saleh Muhammad had also been served notice over taking part in Afridi's election campaign.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2021.

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