LAHORE, Nov 17: The Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf has requested Election Commission of Pakistan to issue a specific restraint order against President Asif Ali Zardari from indulging in political activities and indiscriminate use of public funds and resources especially ahead of general elections.

The party has termed president’s Eid-Milan public gathering at Malakwal, Mandi Bahauddin, on Monday last pre-election rigging using public funds for the constituencies of the people involved. It also demanded that the minister and his ‘accomplices’ involved must be debarred from contesting elections.

In a prayer submitted to Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim on Saturday, PTI secretary-general Dr Arif Alvi stated that the president represented federation and his non-interference in political activities was essential for free and fair elections.

He said that was also in pursuance of the Supreme Court observations as well as the order of the CEC, when he (CEC) stopped the deputy prime minister from abusing his position in Narowal.

The pray stated that half-page advertisements were published in different newspapers on Monday (Nov 13) by the “Ministry of Capital Administration and Development” that stated a “A warm welcome to President Asif Ali Zardari on the auspicious occasion of Eid-Milan at Malakwal, district Mandi Bahauddin by Nadeem Fazal Chan (MNA & Chairman Public Accounts Committee) Major (R) Zulfiqar Ali Gondal (MPA), Waseem Afzal Gondal (MPA)”.

He stated that the advertisement also praised Nazar Muhammad Gondal, federal minister for capital administration & development. He stated Nazar Gondal’s constituency fell in the same area along with his brother MPA Major (retired) Zulfiqar Gondal and MPA Waseem Afzal Godal, whose names were also mentioned.

On behalf of PTI, Dr Alvi said that was a purely political advertisement that had nothing to do with the federal ministry. “What does an Eid-Milan in Mandi Bahauddin has to do with the said ministry?” he asked.

He said the issuance of the advertisements was a blatant misuse of government funds by a minister, who heads a ministry created in the wake of the 18th amendment and was mandated to carry out functions within the Islamabad Capital Territory of health, education and social welfare.

He said the ministry had some 22,000 employees out of whom more than 20,000 were in health and education and added, “An Eid-Milan in Mandi Bahauddin is not even remotely related to this ministry”. He observed that it was shameful that public funds had been used to further a minister’s constituency spread and that of his relatives. “This is pre-election rigging using public funds for the constituencies of the people involved,” he added.

As this advertisement was of a purely political nature that had nothing to do with the ministry, the PTI secretary general prayed to the CEC that he should issue specific orders that the cost along with a fine should be borne by the minister and officials of the ministry personally.

Dr Alvi demanded that the CEC should debar the minister and his accomplices from contesting elections and recommend action against the civil servants involved. The CEC should also issue a general order to the federal and provincial ministries and publicise the same in light of this incident: “That government funds should not be used for political purposes in this manner and if this happens the person may be debarred from contesting elections.”

The PTI secretary general also stated that President Asif Ali Zardari must also be stopped from visiting such ‘election-influencing’ functions as he was representing the federation and his non-interference in political activities was essential for free and fair elections. He said that would also be in pursuance of the Supreme Court observations as well as the order of the CEC, when he had stopped the deputy prime minister from abusing his position in Narowal.

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