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ECP summons Hamza Shehbaz after he promises free electricity

Hamza Shehbaz had announced a relief package where the provincial government would bear the power cost of households consuming up to 100 units of electricity in a month.

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The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has served a notice to Punjab Chief Minister and PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz for violating the code of conduct issued for the upcoming by-elections in the province.

Taking notice of the violation on Tuesday, the electoral watchdog served a notice on the PML-N leader and summoned him on July 7 over the violation of polling laws. It directed the chief minister to appear before the commission in person or send a lawyer on July 7 at 10 am to explain his position on the matter.

Earlier, Hamza Shehbaz had announced a relief package where the provincial government would bear the power cost of households consuming up to 100 units of electricity in a month. The measure aimed to focus on curtailing the problems of the people who bear the extreme brunt of the inflationary hike.

Read more: Hamza Shahbaz’s ‘free electricity’ decision comes under criticism

The chief minister also said the government would also provide free solar panels to the people in need so that they could shift to alternative sources of electricity. Needless to say, the decision came under intense criticism. Former Federal Minister and PTI leader Omar Ayub Khan termed this initiative as “a total gimmick.”

ECP takes strict action

According to the ECP, the Punjab Chief Minister violated the code of conduct for the upcoming by-polls. ECP had earlier imposed a ban on initiating any development project until the July 17 by-polls on 20 Punjab Assembly seats.

The polls are scheduled on 20 seats of the Punjab Assembly where PTI had won in 2018 general elections and its MPAs had later defected to the PML-N and faced disqualification.

The PTI and its ally party PML-Q have declared Hamza an “illegal CM” after losing the majority in the House thus calling for a run-off election.

Important to note that Hamza Shehbaz’s election as the Chief Minister of Punjab is controversial. Last month, the Lahore High Court ordered a recount of votes in the election of Hamza Shahbaz as chief minister of Punjab, in a landmark verdict.

Read more: Will it be PDM vs PTI in Punjab by-polls?

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