PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Election Commission of Pakistan on Monday cautioned the Lower Dir district administration that allowing the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to hold a rally in the area on Jan 27 with Prime Minister Imran Khan in attendance would be a violation of the code of conduct for the upcoming phase of the local body elections.
It also turned down the request of Chief Minister Mahmood Khan to visit Upper Dir district today (Tuesday) declaring the planned visit against the code of conduct issued by it for the holding of free, fair and transparent local body elections.
In a letter addressed to the deputy commissioner of Lower Dir and district police officer,district election commissioner Mohammad Iqbal,who is also returning officer of Balambat tehsil in Lower Dir,said it had come to the notice of the ECP through reliable sources that the PTI was planning to organise a public rally in Timergara, Lower Dir, on Jan 27 on the occasion of the visit of the prime minister.
According to him, the code of conduct of ECP issued on Jan 20 for the holding of the second phase of local body elections said, “The president, prime minister, chief minister, governor, speaker and deputy speaker of any assembly, chairman and deputy chairman of Senate, federal and provincial ministers, advisors 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.”
CM request to visit Upper Dir today rejected
If someone is the resident of the district, where elections are to be held, he or she may visit the district but will not take part in any kind of political activity.
“The above narrated paras bound you (DC and DPO) to follow the instruction of ECP and stop the proposed rally on 27th January,” read the letter.
It added that the failure to implement the code of conduct and instruction issued by the ECP shall amount to violation.
The letter said the matter could be treated as the most urgent as it related to the transparent and smooth conduct of election, so it required absolute adherence to the law.
An official in the provincial ECP told Dawn that if the prime minister participated in the proposed PTI rally despite instruction of the ECP, it would be violation of the code of conduct for the local body elections.
In the past, the provincial ECP served notice on Prime Minister Imran Khan for violating the code of conduct during the first phase of local body elections held on Dec 19 last year.
On Dec 8, the prime minister had inaugurated several welfare initiatives in the provincial capital despite the regional election commissioner’s advisory to desist such activities to avoid the violation of election code of conduct.
“No one knows in the provincial ECP that what happened to the previous notice served on prime minister,” an official told Dawn.
He said actually, the regional monitoring officer had referred the matter to the ECP’s headquarters in Islamabad.
In the second phase slated for March 27, elections will be held for the posts of mayor and chairman of tehsil and city councils and different categories of members in village and neighbourhood councils in 18 districts.
The districts, where elections will be held, include Abbottabad, Mansehra, Battagram, Torghar, Upper and Lower Kohistan, Kolai-Palas, Swat, Malakand, Shangla, Lower and Upper Dir, Upper and Lower Chitral, Kurram, Orakzai and North and South Waziristan.
Meanwhile, the provincial election commissioner Mohammad Raziq on Monday issued a letter to the secretaries of the Senate, National Assembly and KP Assembly to request members of parliament and provincial assembly to comply with the orders of the ECP in letter and spirit for free, fair and transparent elections.
Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2022