The Provincial Election Commission Sindh has issued a code of conduct for political parties and candidates contesting the October 16 by-polls in two National Assembly constituencies— NA-237 and NA-239 – in Karachi.
The code of conduct reads that all types of firing, including aerial firing, and the use of crackers and other explosives at public meetings and at or near polling stations by any person will not be allowed. Any violation will be treated as an illegal practice.The parliamentarians, including members of the National Assembly, provincial assemblies, Senate, and local governments, are allowed to participate in election campaigns. However, they will strictly abide by the code of conduct, directions, instructions and regulations issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
If the code of ethics was not followed by the parliamentarians, they would face legal consequences, including contempt proceedings as contemplated in Section 10 of the Election Act, 2017.
“The public office holders, including president, prime minister, chairman, deputy chairman Senate, speaker, deputy speaker of an assembly, federal ministers, ministers of state, governors, chief ministers, provincial ministers and advisors to the prime minister and the chief minister, mayor, chairman, Nazim, their deputies, will not participate in [electioneering] any manner whatsoever.”
The election commission has imposed a complete ban on convening, holding or attending any public meeting, or promoting or joining in any procession, within the area of a constituency during a period of forty-eight hours ending at midnight following the conclusion of the polls, and as such the election campaign in all respect shall come to an and before the said hours and any violation will be treated as an illegal practice.
Likewise, the political parties should endeavour to take necessary steps to instill discipline within the party, its candidates, employees and supporters and guide them to follow this code, comply with laws and regulations, commit no election irregularities and adhere to election regulations.
“No political party shall run a publicity campaign in print and electronic media at the cost of the public exchequer, and in this regard, no public money shall be used for issuing of advertisements in the newspapers and other media. Similarly, misuse of official mass media during the election campaign for partisan coverage by the Federal, Provincial and Local governments shall be prohibited.”
The code of code further says: “In addition, no person or a political party can affix or distribute posters, handbills, pamphlets, leaflets, banners or portraits, larger than the sizes prescribed by the Election Commission. The approved size of posters would be 18 inches x 23 inches while handbills, pamphlets and leaflets would 9-inches x 6inches. Likewise, the size of banners would be 3-feet x 9-feet d and portraits would be 2-feet x 3-feet.
“The candidates should ensure that the name and address of the concerned printer and publisher are printed on the face of the posters, handbills, pamphlets, leaflets, banners, and portraits. If the name of the printer and publisher was missing it will be considered a violation of the code of conduct and it will be treated as an illegal practice.
“In no case, the political parties, contesting candidates, election agents or their supporters should affix posters on walls or any building. There should be a complete ban on hoardings, billboards, wall chalking, and panaflexes of any size. Violation will be treated as an illegal practice. Also, in no case, the picture of a government official should be printed on any publicity material by any political party, candidate, and election agent.”