ISLAMABAD: The district returning officer (DRO) of Islamabad issued a show cause notice to chairman Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan on Friday for violating the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) code of conduct for the upcoming general elections.
DRO Sohail Nasir, district and sessions judge, Islamabad directed Imran Khan “to appear in person or through authorised representative” before him on July 15 (Sunday) at 11 am in sessions court of Islamabad to show cause why reference may not be sent to ECP for “disqualification to contest the elections or for punishment under section 10 of the Elections Act 2017 or both.”
DRO Nasir warned that in case he does “not appear or fail to submit any reply, it will be presumed that [he has] no defence to offer and proceeding shall be made ex-parte.”
He directed for immediate removal of displayed material which have been placed in violation of the code within 24 hours and sought a report in this regard.
The show cause notice reminded Mr Khan that by filing nomination papers, he assured that he will abide by the ECP’s code of conduct.
As per Part-C of the code, “no person or political party shall affix or distribute posters, handbills, pamphlet, leaflets, banners or portraits, larger than the approved size”, and “there is complete ban on hoardings, billboards, wall chalking and panaflexes”.
It recalled that a meeting was arranged by the undersigned on July 4 in Convention Centre, Islamabad where a briefing was made for the implementation of code by showing zero tolerance.
The notice says that “even after briefing and clear words by all concerned, showing no tolerance and making no compromise, [Imran Khan] continued violation of the code with regard to campaign and in this context thousands of banners, panaflexes, posters and flags were removed by various teams of district administration that also caused burden on government.”
The district administration removed 8,562 such publicity content of PTI, 8,221 of MMA, 5,242 of PML-N, 5,223 of PPP and 3,895 of independents.
However, the show cause notice further said: “Despite issuance of notices and warning by the district administration/district monitoring officer, [Imran Khan] did not bother to take any pain and kept on violating the code.”
Subsequently, it added that “in case of violation of code in spite of briefing, requesting, warnings and issuance of notices, [Imran Khan] can be held guilty for illegal practice within the meaning of section 175 of the Elections Act 2017 and this can lead to [his] disqualification to contest the elections.”
Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2018