According to a report compiled by the Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen), its pre-election observers found a high number of violations of the Election Commission of Pakistan’s code of conduct in 30 constituencies of the National Assembly.
Fafen’s observers monitored 49 campaign rallies of 10 political party and independent candidates from April 2 to April 15.
Out of these, 34 were held in 17 constituencies in Punjab, six in five constituencies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), three in five constituencies of Sindh, two in five constituencies in Balochistan, three in two constituencies of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and one in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
Out of the 49 rallies observed, 45 violated one or more terms of the ECP’s code of conduct.
The code of conduct was designed to provide a level playing field to all political party and independent candidates, while maintaining public security and minimising any inconvenience to the people during the campaign period.
Four rallies which violated code of conduct were held outside the residences of opponents, candidates or political leaders. Moreover, 12 caused inconvenience to the public and traffic jams. Whereas, district administrations failed to inform the public on the locations of 33 rallies, Fafen said.
The report also stated that there were at least seven rallies that violated more than one terms of the ECP’s code of conduct. It added that most of the observed rallies (42) violated the code of conduct’s provisions in one or more ways. On the other hand, seven rallies did not violate the code.
The biggest number of code violations was recorded at the rallies of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) with 11 breaches during nine rallies, followed by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N), with 11 and 10 violations respectively. Moreover, eight violations were observed in 11 rallies held by independent candidates.
Furthermore, four violations were observed at the two rallies of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) that were organised in NA-104. Both rallies were held at places unknown to the public as well as outside the residence(s) of opponents/candidates/political leaders.
Fafen observers also noted violations in rallies held by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam – Fazlur Rahman (JUI-F), as well as in one rally held by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Samiul Haq (JUI-S) and Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) each.
The observers did not witness any violation in two rallies of Awami National Party (ANP) held in NA-28 and NA-37, in one rally of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) in NA-259 and in one rally of Awami Workers Party (AWP) held in NA-28.