PESHAWAR: Election Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday issued notices to Pakistan Peoples Party chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and six other leaders of the party for violating code of conduct for local government elections in the province.

The notices have been served on the PPP leaders for participating in a public rally held here on Tuesday at Kabootar Chowk of Ring Road.

The ECP has called upon the PPP leaders to appear in person or through their counsel on December 3, according to the notice issued by regional election commissioner/district monitoring officer Peshawar.

Other leaders of the PPP on whom notices have been served include MNA Khursheed Shah, MNA Abdul Qadir Patel, Sindh MPA Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, MPA Saeed Ghani and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa MPA Nighat Yasmin Orakzai.

“It has come to notice that you have addressed a ‘jalsa’ in Peshawar on November 30 at Kabootar Chowk, in violation of Section 30 of the code of conduct for political parties,” said the notice issued to PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari though PPP provincial president Najamuddin Khan.

Section 30 of the code of conduct for political parties says: “There will ban on public gatherings, processions and car rallies in connection with local bodies’ elections. However, the candidates can arrange corner meetings and for this purpose they have to inform local administration beforehand so that necessary security precautions could be taken.”

According to the ECP code of conduct issued on November 4, the president, prime minister, chief minister, governor, speaker and deputy speaker of any assembly, chairman and deputy chairman of Senate, federal and provincial ministers, advisers to the prime minister or chief minster or any other holder of public office shall not visit the area of any local council to announce any development scheme or to canvass or campaign for any candidate or any political party.

“You are therefore called upon to appear in person or through your counsel to explain your position for violating the code of conduct and directives of ECP on December 3 in the office of the regional election commissioner/district monitoring officer Peshawar,” states the notice served on PPP chairperson.

It is pertinent to mention here that according to the ECP’s code of conduct, all executive authorities in the federation and in the provinces shall neither announce any development project nor use state resources in local government elections calculated to influence the election in favour of a particular candidate.

The ECP has made all arrangement for conducting the first phase of local bodies election in 17 district of the province including Buner, Bajaur, Swabi, Peshawar, Nowshera, Kohat, Karak, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, Tank, Haripur, Khyber, Mohmand, Charsadda, Hangu and Lakki Marwat on December 19.

Local bodies’ elections in the remaining districts would be held on January 16.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2021

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