Pakistan News

Imran to address rally in Lahore on Friday

Imran to address rally in Lahore on Friday

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan will address a public meeting in Lahore on Friday as ‘his contribution’ to the campaign of his party’s candidate for by-election for the National Assembly seat NA-120, polling for which is scheduled for Sept 17.

PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said this to reporters after holding a meeting with the representatives of Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) at his residence on Tuesday.

Mr Qureshi said that he would meet the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday to raise the issue of violation of the election code of conduct by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) during a campaign of their candidate Begum Kulsoom Nawaz.

He alleged that a number of MNAs and MPAs were openly flouting the code of conduct that barred public office-holders, including members of the National and provincial assemblies, from campaigning for their candidate.

The PTI leader thanked the representatives of the religious parties for extending support to the PTI candidate on the seat that fell vacant after the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif following the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case.

Mr Qureshi had last month sent a letter to the CEC raising objections to the code of conduct due to which almost all the senior leadership of the PTI, including chairman Imran Khan and secretary general Jahangir Tareen, were unable to participate in the election campaign for the party’s candidate Dr Yasmeen Rashid.

The PTI leader also held a meeting with the CEC, retired Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza, to take up the issue. The CEC told him that he was seeking opinion of the four members of the ECP and a decision on whether to modify the code would be made after that.

Later, an official of the ECP said that the ECP’s code of conduct was in line with the judgement of the apex court in the Workers’ Party case.

Talking to Dawn, PTI information secretary Shaf­qat Mahmood said that since PTI chairman Imran Khan could not participate in any rally or public meeting within the NA-120 constituency due to the ECP’s “illogical” bar on the MNAs and MPAs, they had arranged the public meeting in Mazang, an area outside the NA-120 constituency.

Mr Mahmood said that despite being the only PTI member of the National Assembly from Lahore, he was unable to participate in the election campaign of the party candidate. He said it seemed that the elections were being held under a ‘dictatorial regime and not democratic set-up’.

Responding to a question, Mr Mahmood claimed that his party had forcefully raised the issue during the meetings of the Parliamentary Committee on Election Reforms that had drafted the comprehensive Election Bill, but the ECP had opposed the move. He also complained that the PML-N, despite agreeing to the PTI’s point of view, did not make efforts to lift the ‘illogical ban’ as they were indirectly getting benefit from it.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2017

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