Penalty imposed on prime minister and five others over their appearance at campaign rally in violation of commission’s instructions
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday imposed fines of Rs. 50,000 each on Prime Minister Imran Khan and five others for addressing a campaign rally in Swat in violation of the election code of conduct.
This is the second time Khan has been fined by the ECP over his violation of the code of conduct; on March 19, Lower Dir’s district monitoring officer had also imposed a Rs. 50,000 fine on the prime minister for violating the code of conduct by attending a public gathering in Dir ahead of the second phase of local body elections in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
Earlier, the ECP has specifically barred the prime minister and other public office holders from attending public gatherings in districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa where the second phase of the local bodies elections are due. It had, however, allowed lawmakers that do not hold any public office to participate in the rallies.
P.M. Khan has repeatedly ignored the ECP’s warnings and continued to attend public gatherings.
In addition to the prime minister, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, Communications Minister Murad Saeed, and provincial ministers Amjad Ali and Mohibullah have also been fined for their participation in the Swat rally.
The government claims that the ECP’s code of conduct no longer applies, as it has permitted holders of public office and elected representatives to run election campaigns through a controversial presidential ordinance that was promulgated last month to amend the Elections Act, 2017. The prime minister and Planning Minister Asad Umar are currently plaintiffs in a case challenging the ECP notice before the Supreme Court.
In addition to imposing the fine on the prime minister, the ECP has reiterated warnings against him addressing a rally in Mansehra on March 25, stressing that it would be a breach of the code of conduct.