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> PILDAT Lauds directives of the Chief Election Commissioner barring Prime Minister and CMs from by-election Campaign

September 29, 2010


Islamabad, September 29: PILDAT has welcomed and lauded the directives of the Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan barring the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers from by-election campaign in the country.


Honourable Justice (Retd.) Hamid Ali Mirza, Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan, has barred the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, Federal Ministers, State Ministers, advisers to the President and Prime Minister and advisers to the Chief Ministers from visiting the constituencies where by-elections are to be held. The CEC has barred them from inaugurating or promise to inaugurate development schemes during the run-up to the by polls.


PILDAT believes that this directive is a historic land mark in the existence of the Election Commission of Pakistan. It is also helpful in establishing the writ of the Election Commission for ensuring of free, fair, impartial and transparent conduct of by-elections in Pakistan. PILDAT also said that the prestige of the ECP will enhance and peopleís trust in this vital democratic institution will increase after the CECís directive.


Earlier on August 3, 2010, PILDAT sought clarification from the Honourable Chief Election Commissioner through a letter whether Prime Minister's continuing election rallies and announcement of development projects constituted violation of an electoral law or code of conduct. The Prime Minister had addressed an election rally at Sillanwali on July 31, 2010 to campaign for a PPPP-supported candidate for the by-election in the National Assembly Constituency NA-68, Sargodha V; lent support to his party's candidate for the by-election in constituency NA-155, Lodhran II on August 2, 2010 at Kehrore Pacca and addressed the election rally at Bahawalpur on August 20, 2010 in support of a PPPP candidate for the by-election from National Assembly constituency NA-184, Bahawalpur-II.


PILDAT felt that continuing use of state resources and announcement of development projects at election rallies by the Prime Minister was damaging the credibility of the democratic and electoral process in the country. The practice was not only being followed by the Prime Minister but also by the Ministers and advisors of Provincial governments especially in Punjab. PILDAT had strongly demanded that the Election Commission should clarify the correct position and initiate action irrespective of the position of the violator of the sanctity of the electoral process.