Campaign posters and banners put up across the city will not be taken off until after the elections as government officials are engaged with polling duties, though the period allowed for campaigning ended on May 9.
The city government allowed candidates to put up election advertisements around three weeks ago. The Parks and Horticulture Authority collected a fee for each ad put up. There was an understanding that all the adverts would be removed on May 9, when the campaign ended.
But since PHA and city government officials were assigned polling duties, it became clear that they would not have the manpower or time to remove all the material. The PHA then decided to clear areas within a 400-metre radius of the 3,359 polling stations in the city. However, the PHA has also given up on that plan because of a lack of staff and time. Now, the PHA plans to remove the material on Sunday, the day after the polls.
PHA Marketing Director Mian Mudassir said that there was a plan to remove all the banners and posters near polling stations, but town administration officials were busy with election duties. He said that the PHA had received no instructions from the city government regarding the removal of campaign material.
District Coordination Officer Rizwan Mehboob said that given that city government staff were all busy, it was simply not possible to remove all the campaign ads. He said that campaigning was supposed to end by May 9, but by this time, the adverts were unlikely to change any voters’ minds as to who to vote for. “I don’t think it’s a big issue,” he said.
The PTI was the biggest spender on street advertising, according to PHA records, followed by the PML-N.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2013.