Pakistan poll panel proposes ban on ‘party funds’ from candidates

The draft code of conduct for elections proposes a bar on political parties to collect money from electoral candidates

Islamabad: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday issued a provisional code of conduct pertaining to the upcoming general elections on July 25.

In a significant measure to ensure free and fair elections, the ECP has proposed a bar on political parties from collecting money from aspiring electoral candidates for awarding party tickets to them.

“No political party shall receive any amount from any of its prospective candidate in the name of party fund for issuance of party ticket to that candidate,” reads a draft code of conduct prepared by the ECP according to Dawn newspaper. The draft code, however, will be finalised after discussion with the political parties at a consultative meeting convened by the ECP.

The six-category code by ECP outlines rules related to campaign, publicity, meetings and polling day that political parties, candidates and election agents have to adhere to during the elections.

The code suggests that five per cent of tickets must be awarded to women, in line with laws which call for the equal representation of qualified men and women in the legislative bodies of Pakistan.

Political parties and candidates have been asked to refrain from propagating opinions contrary to the Constitution and the Ideology of Pakistan and to uphold the rights and freedom of the people of Pakistan.

A candidate contesting for a National Assembly seat can spend up to Rs4 million for campaigning whereas a candidate running for provincial seat can spend Rs2 million, according to Election Act 2017.

To ensure transparency, the electoral body has bound candidates to open exclusive accounts for this purpose in any bank across Pakistan so their transactions can be monitored. The candidates are required to submit a complete account of the expenses incurred during elections to ECP within 10 days of polling.

Political parties have been advised to refrain from influencing print or the electronic media and from printing religious verses on posters and advertisements. Public display of firearms has also been banned during elections meetings and processions.

“On polling day, there shall be a complete ban on all kinds of election campaign within the radius of 400 meters of a polling station,” reads a rule.

Failure to abide by the code of conduct in any form would entail contempt, according to the rules drafted by ECP.


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