Implementation of ECP Code of Conduct in Election Campaign
NA-4 By-Election October 2017
Wednesday (October 25, 2017)
This report presents an account of violations of ECP code of conduct during by-election campaign in NA-4. The Coalition for Elections and Democracy (CED) observers visited different areas of constituency between 17 and 24 October 2017 and reported implementation status of ECP code of conduct issued on September 8, 2017.
CED observers recorded total 119 violations; wall chalking, and large size of banners and posters were the most common. Wall chalking was observed in favor of independent candidate supported by Milli Muslim League, PTI and Peoples Party in areas of Hassan Khatak, Shagee abad , Yousaf Abad, Telaband, Sheikhan, Mushtazai, Sheik Mohammade, Suleman Kheil, Masho gagar, Badabhera, Maryamzai and Sherkera. Huge size banners and hoardings were displayed by all the major parties.
On twelve occasions public office holders were seen visiting 8 different areas of the constituency. These visitors included Nazim, Tehsil nazim, MNAs and MPAs of four major contesting parties i.e. PTI, PML (N), PPP and ANP. At least at five different occasions green number plate vehicles were seen in use of these public office bearers.
Use of loud speakers has been observed quite frequently during the campaign. The observers reported 8 violations connected to use of loud speakers. These violations were made mainly by, Milli Muslim League and Labaik ya Rasool Allah; the parties that are still not registered in ECP but have fielded their candidates as independents.
Use of development work as a tool to attract voters’ attention has also been observed. Despite clear directions from ECP to halt all development work in the constituency the observer reported construction of roads and a bridge at 4 different instances including areas around PS # 57 Dehbahadur Marozai, Bazidkhel, Polling station, GPS Qadar abad Darwazgi Near Madina masjid, polling station 261, GHSS/GPS no 2 umer payan. Apart from the provincial government constructing roads the PSDP’s first quarter statistics issued by ministry of planning, development and reform dated October 13, 2017, the federal government has also released 100% funds for gas supply scheme in NA-4.
Hoisting of party flag on any public property is forbidden under ECP code but the observer reported 7 instances of party flag being seen on public property in different areas. The observer reported party flags and banner of ANP and PPP hoisted on Government High School Sheikh Mohammade and a primary school in Adezai. Party flags were also seen on primary school and government tube wells in Musazai.
Despite the fact that ECP had deputed 24 officials in 8 monitoring teams to ensure strict adherence of the code of conduct, still such a large number of violations were observed in just a span of one week. This situation demands immediate attention of the ECP so that the monitoring mechanisms can be strengthened for future elections. A press release issued by ECP on October 10, 2017 stated that no one had submitted any written complaint of ECP code violation till that date. Enforcement of its rules and codes to make elections free, fair and transparent is the mandate of the ECP. CED is of the view that Election Commission of Pakistan should proactively engage in enforcement of its code of conduct and the monitoring teams should not only respond to the complaints but should also carry out actual monitoring and take cognizance of any violations being held during election campaign.
About CED: CED is a civil society coalition for voter education, election observation and strengthening democratic institutions. Its secretariat is based at CPDI