Pakistan

ECP reserves judgment in Kurram by-poll electoral code breach case


The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday reserved its judgment in the case of violation of the code of conduct during the NA-45 by-election by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and leader Iqbal Wazir.

During the proceedings today Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja remarked that "the candidate is impacted if anyone violates the code".

The special secretary observed that "government vehicles have been used in this case" and questioned "how they [PTI] can say that government resources have not been used" during the by-election.

"Imran Khan has committed violations before as well," added the official.

Read ECP official records affidavit in Toshakhana case

"Iqbal Wazir is an important member of the party," opined DG Law, "this affects the candidate".

The special secretary went on to request the electoral watchdog to take "strict action" against Iqbal alleging that his "tweets had attempted to incite people against the ECP".

Meanwhile, PTI lawyer Barrister Gohar argued that the PTI had not held any rallies in Kurram and that "the DMO had ordered Iqbal Wazir to leave the district" following which "he was not present on the occasion".

Imran Khan also did not visit the constituency due to security threats, the barrister argued. The PTI counsel also urged the commission "not to take the tweets seriously".

Gohar stressed that two notices were issued in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). However, the CEC responded by saying "no one is above the law" adding that "nobody is allowed to disrespect the ECP".

"It cannot be that you call others dishonest and act this way," he added, "this is unacceptable".

"You are trying to give the impression that the notices were only issued in K-P," he continued, "this is not the case, the ECP has taken strict measures in this regard and notices have been issued to everyone, even though helicopters were not used in the other provinces".

"We did not use any helicopters," the PTI lawyer responded adding that Iqbal had "gone for flood relief work, not for campaigning".

"Tell us," the CEC retorted, "should there be a code of conduct or not?" to which Barrister Gohar responded in the affirmative but argued the PTI "had not breached the code of conduct".

"Iqbal Wazir is saying in the video that he is running an electoral campaign," the CEC said but the PTI counsel insisted that Iqbal had gone as minister of disaster management and was not involved in campaigning.

It may be noted that earlier in October, PTI chairman and former premier Imran Khan had won the National Assembly constituency NA-45 Kurram, with a significant margin against his rival, JUI-F’s Jamil Khan, who was backed by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

The PTI chief bagged 20,748 votes as per the unofficial results while Jamil managed to secure 12,718. This is a triumphant victory with a difference of 8,300 votes.


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