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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

ECP Issues Notice to Bilawal for Visiting Larkana Before Polls

The Election Commission of Pakistan has issued notices to the PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, alongside other PPP leaders for violating the ECP code of conduct by visiting the constituency of Larkana after the schedule for the upcoming elections has been announced.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued notices to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other party leaders on accusations of violating its code of conduct by visiting a provincial assembly constituency in Larkana (PS-11) before the by-election, scheduled for October 17th.

The notices were issued by the regional election commissioner of Larkana, Rana Abdul Ghaffar, on Sunday, a day after Mr. Bhutto Zardari and other PPP leaders visited the Larkana constituency, and spoke at rallies held in support for the PPP candidate Jamil Soomro.

Responding to the measures taken by the ECP, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, spokesperson for the PPP Chairman, criticized the decision and remarked that “no law can forbid the party chairman from visiting his home constituency.”

Notice Issued to Bilawal

Bilawal had visited the Larkana constituency on Saturday, to address the election campaign rally of PPP candidate, Jamil Soomro for the by-election in Sindh Assembly constituency PS-11.

The PPP Chairman addressed rallies in the Pakistan Chowk and Nazar Mohalla areas of Larkana. According to paragraph 17 of the ECP’s Code of Conduct, no parliament member is allowed to visit a constituency that is awaiting by-elections after the dates of the election have been announced.

Read more: Bilawal is using the Human rights committee to play politics, says Mazari

The paragraph 17 states, “The president, prime minister, chairman and deputy chairman of Senate, speaker and deputy speaker of provincial and national assemblies, members of Senate or an assembly, federal ministers, ministers of the state, governors, chief ministers, provincial ministers and advisers to the prime minister and chief ministers, mayors, nazims and their deputies and other public officer holders shall not participate in election campaign in any manner.”

The notification by the ECP, issued on October 12, directed the PPP Chairman to provide a response within a day after receiving the notice. The notification warned that a failure to submit a response with a day will result in disciplinary action under the Sections 167 and 234 of Elections Act 2017, read with Rule 171 of Election Rules.

The notification stated, “Being a member of the National Assembly, you were fully aware of the announcement of the schedule for the by-election.”

Similar notices were also sent to other PPP leaders who had joined the PPP Chairman during his visit to Larkana, including Syed Nasir Shah, Khursheed Ahmed Junejo, Sharjeel Memon, Nisar Khuhro, and Sohail Anwar Siyal amongst others.

The ECP had announced by-elections in PS-11 after Moazzam Abbasi of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) was de-seated by a decision of the Supreme Court in August.

Bilawal in Larkana

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari visited Larkana on Saturday, and addressing a crowd of PPP supporters, he criticized the economic measures taken by the Imran Khan-led government. He stressed that during PPP’s tenure, the government had created employment opportunities across the country.

The PPP Chairman said, “Even at a time when the entire world was engulfed with a grave economic recession, the PPP-led government, headed by former President Asif Ali Zardari, undertook many welfare initiatives for the people, including the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).”

Bilawal added that the PPP government had negotiated financial assistance packaged with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) without compromising the welfare of the poor. He stated that the PPP government had increased the wages and pensions of government employees by 100% even though the country was facing a tumultuous financial situation.

Read more: Bilawal threatens the state: Will Sindh card work for PPP?

The PPP Chairman added that the Pakistan People’s Party had clashed with the military regimes of Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Zia-ul Haq, and Pervez Musharraf. He said, “PPP will succeed in getting rid of this selected, puppet government.”

Bilawal said that he is confident that the people of Larkana will vote for the PPP candidate, Jamil Soomro, in the upcoming by-election, scheduled for October 17.