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ISLAMABAD: The code of conduct for the local government by-election, made by the capital administration and police, was issued on Wednesday, officials said.

Seats for the chairmen of the Tarnol and Shah Allah Ditta union councils are still vacant, after the two individuals elected from the councils were appointed deputy mayors, officials said.

According to the code of conduct, political parties and their candidates must abide by the laws, codes of conduct and directions issued by the election commission for peaceful elections.

They must also ensure that the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution and the laws are protected.

The political parties, their candidates and their supports must avoid unlawful activities with regards to the elections, including bribing or threatening voters, impersonating voters and coercing voters to cast or not cast their votes within a 200 metre radius of the polling station.

Notices, posters, banners and party flags displayed without permission from the returning officer have been banned within a hundred metre radius of the polling station, other than at designated spots for candidates or political agents.

The code of conduct states that political parties, candidates and supporters must not incite violence and should openly condemn violence and terrorism, and avoid using language that may incite such actions during gatherings and polling.

Person or property must not be harmed during campaigning or polling, and candidates, parties and supports may not receive help or assistance from government officials for their success or for the failure of their opponents.

They cannot damage or erase ballot papers or official markings on them, the code states, and a government installation cannot be used to display banners or flags without permission and the payment of a fee if it has been determined in this regard.

Wall-chalking has also been banned during the election campaigns, as has the use of loudspeakers except at corner meetings. Posters and banners should not exceed the size prescribed by the election commission.

Political parties and candidates cannot make or promise financial payments or donations after the announcement of the election schedule.

Propaganda to defame candidates’ opponents must also be avoided, and their personal lives should not be criticised. The code states that opponents should only be criticised on their performances and previous records.

Transport cannot be provided to voters to the polling station and back, and political parties and candidates should not oppose an opponent on the basis of gender, religion or caste.

Parties and candidates cannot make or encourage efforts to stop women from voting, the code says, and the funds approved by the election commission for campaigns should not be exceeded.

The prime minister, Senate chairman, Senate deputy chairman, National Assembly speaker and deputy speaker, federal and state ministers, advisers to the prime minister, MNAs, senators and government officials cannot participate in campaigning directly or indirectly, and should not visit union councils or wards where the elections will be held.

The code also states that processions and public gatherings for the election will not be permitted, but corner meetings may be held following permission from the local administration.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2016