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ECP takes exception to code violation

March 31, 2013

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Election Commission of Pakistan.— File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Taking notice of incidents of firing into the air after submission of nomination papers in some areas, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has asked the returning officers (ROs) to reject the papers of candidates found in violation of the code of conduct for political parties and candidates.

The ECP’s Additional Secretary, M. Afzal Khan, told reporters here on Saturday that the commission had also taken exception to show of force at the time of filing of nomination papers by candidates and warned them not to go to the ROs’ offices with processions.

“Such processions pose a security threat and provide a soft target to terrorists,” he said.

He said around 3,600 nomination papers had been filed for national and provincial assembly elections and about one-third of them had been sent back to the ROs after attaching reports of the departments concerned about their financial integrity.

He said some 7,000 papers were expected to be filed on Sunday, the last date given for the purpose.

He said the provincial and district administrations and police had been asked to prevent the candidates from violating the law and rules agreed to by all the political forces.

The official said the district coordination officers (DCOs) and police chiefs concerned would be responsible for any untoward incident. The candidates can file their papers by 4pm. Mr Khan ruled out any more extension in the date for filing nomination papers.

He said that since it would be a bank holiday, the candidates had been allowed to use their existing account numbers for election expenditure and mention them in their nomination papers. They can also open a bank account after filing nomination papers and provide the number to the ROs at the time of scrutiny of the papers.

DEFAULTERS: The ECP has written letters to various officials seeking details of those who have defaulted on utility bills and other government dues. The letters have been sent to the secretary for housing and works, chairman of the National Telecommunication Corporation, chairman of Wapda, managing directors of the Sui Southern Gas Company and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines, chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, chairman of the Capital Development Authority and the controllers of the Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir Houses.

An official said a letter was also being written to the Federal Tax Ombudsman, seeking his intervention to address the issue of what he called a mafia at the lower level in the Federal Board of Revenue trying to sabotage the process of verification of tax details of the candidates through delaying tactics.

GOOD NEWS: In what came as a good news for many candidates, whose nomination papers were otherwise bound to be rejected for no fault on their part, the ECP has decided to enrol in the voters’ lists the names of candidates who are not currently registered as voters and thus have been forced to file nomination papers without their voters’ extract — a legal requirement.

Those who are registered voters but want to get their names transferred to the constituency from where they have filed nomination papers will also be facilitated. The facility will also be available to those who file nomination papers on Sunday. The voter extracts will be issued to them on showing receipt of filing the nomination papers.

The Lahore High Court had recently ordered inclusion and transfer of votes after issuance of the poll schedule.

COMPLAINT: An official told Dawn that the ECP had received a complaint against the Deputy Commandant of the Frontier Constabulary, Peshawar, Ghaniur Rehman, whose son Inamur Rehman was stated to be a candidate in the polls and accused of moving about with FC vehicles. A report had been sought from the interior ministry, he said.