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Political rallies violate ECP’s code of conduct: FAFEN

April 12, 2013

Pakistan cricket star turned politician Imran Khan (C) addresses supporters as he stands on a vehicle during a rally in Mianwali, northern Pakistan, on October 6, 2012. Pakistani cricketer turned politician Imran Khan led Western activists and thousands of supporters on a defiant march to the tribal belt to protest against US drone strikes. Crowds lined the road to greet Khan, and scrums of media and well-wishers thronged his 4X4 as the convoy of more than 100 vehicles embarked on the 440-kilometre (270-mile) drive from Islamabad to South Waziristan. AFP PHOTO
Pakistan cricket star turned politician Imran Khan (C) addresses supporters as he stands on a vehicle during a rally in Mianwali. – AFP PHOTO/File

ISLAMABAD: The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) has claimed that political parties were violating the code of conduct for the coming elections announced by the Election Commission.

According to Constituency Long-Term Observers (CLTOs) of FAFEN, 58 rallies across the country have been noticed in violation of the code of conduct.

The rallies were organised by candidates of different political parties and independent candidates between March 24 and April 1, said a press release issued on Friday.

FAFEN has deployed CLTOs in every National Assembly constituency across the country to observe all electoral processes including election campaigning.

Of the 58 rallies, 27 were held in 13 constituencies of Sindh, 21 in eight constituencies of Punjab, eight in four Khyber Pakhtunkhwa constituencies and two in as many constituencies of Balochistan.

According to the report, eight rallies were held outside the residence of opponents or candidates or political leaders, 26 rallies caused inconvenience to people and traffic including one in which there were fireworks. Thirty-three rallies were held at locations that were not notified to public by district administration while multiple violations were observed in some rallies, said the report.

The ECP’s code of conduct for political parties and candidates is intended to ensure a level playing field among all parties and candidates, and to maintain security and convenience of the general public during the campaign period.

FAFEN recommends that the Election Commission should make every effort, with police and other government departments, to enforce its code of conduct fairly and consistently during the campaign period and on the polling day.

The largest number of violations was witnessed at rallies held by Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) with 22 violations at 13 rallies. Observers noted 18 violations at 13 rallies of Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N). Rallies of independent candidates included six code violations, followed by rallies of Pakistan Muslim League (PML), Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F), Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) with three violations each.

At rallies of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Samiul Haq (JUI-S), observers noted two violations each.

One violation of the ECP code was recorded at rallies of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan People’s Party-Shaheed Bhutto (PPP-SB), and National People’s Party (NPP), while no violations were seen at Awami National Party (ANP) rallies.