The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday warned Prime Minister Imran Khan against flouting its code of conduct hours before he inaugurated a health insurance scheme in Peshawar.
Prime Minister Imran Khan launched the "Micro Health Insurance Programme" during his day-long visit to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa capital.
Under the Kamyab Pakistan Programme, the insurance initiative will provide free medical services worth Rs1 million annually to 7.5m families in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
In a letter to the premier, the ECP referred to the Dawn report about the PM's scheduled visit to the provincial capital and reminded him of the commission's Nov 4 notification, detailing instructions for parties and contesting candidates ahead of the elections.
The ECP had set Dec 19 and Jan 16 as the dates for the first and second phase of local government elections in the province.
"After the issuance of election schedule, the President, Prime Minister, Governor, Speaker, Deputy Speaker of any assembly Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Senate, Federal and Provincial Ministers, Advisors to the Prime Minister or Chief Minister 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," the ECP said in its letter, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com.
The ECP advised the premier not to violate any provision of the code of conduct and instructions issued by the election commission, warning that "legal proceedings under Section-233 (code of conduct) and 234 (monitoring of election campaigns) of the Elections Act, 2017 shall be initiated against you."
'PM's visit is an official one,' says Bangash
Meanwhile, special assistant to the KP chief minister on information Kamran Khan Bangash clarified that the premier's visit to Peshawar was "purely an official one".
"It [the visit] is a part of daily affairs of the state on which there are no restrictions," he said in a statement.
Bangash insisted that the prime minister's participation in a function at the Governor House was official, adding he won't take part in any public gathering related to the elections.
He highlighted that the local government elections were being held only in a few districts of the province, however, "the premier's welfare programme is meant for the poor from across Pakistan."
A day earlier, special assistant to the chief minister on information and public relations, Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif, said that the launch of the Pakistan Card was an important milestone towards the prime minister’s vision of an Islamic welfare state.
He had said that the prime minister, during his visit, would launch Pakistan Card that would encompass the government’s welfare initiatives including Ehsaas Ration Card, Health Card and Kisan Card.
Barrister Saif said that since the health card initiative had been launched in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the prime minister wanted to launch the Pakistan Card from the province as well.