ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has sought written guarantees from top bureaucrats dealing with financial matters that their departments would not release any funds which could in any way influence the outcome of upcoming local government (LG) polls in Punjab and Sindh.
“To ensure strict implementation of Code of Conduct in the forthcoming LG elections, the ECP has decided to take undertaking from Secretary Planning, Government of Pakistan; Chairman (Planning and Development), Government of Punjab, and Additional Chief Secretary (Development), Government of Sindh that funds would not be released on the specific recommendations of elected representatives under any programme or project,” said a brief statement issued by media office of the election supervisory body.
There had been complaints that ahead of LG polls the ruling political parties in both the provinces were releasing funds from the public exchequer in the name of development schemes giving an edge to their candidates in the LG polls.
“Action has been taken after we saw some media reports that the provincial governments have doled out funds. Also we received complaints from some individuals,” an official of the ECP said. The provincial governments and ruling parties in the past had been avoiding the code of conduct on one pretext or the other, he added.
Three-phased election process in Punjab and Sindh has already kicked off from this month. Polling for first phase of LG polls is scheduled on October 31.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2015.
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