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ECP issues violation notice to PM over Lower Dir gathering

PM says COAS asked him not call JUI-F's chief 'diesel'

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued a notice to Prime Minister Imran Khan for alleged violation of the code of conduct under Elections Act 2017 after he addressed a public gathering in Lower Dir on Thursday.

In a letter dated March 11, 2022, the ECP noted that as per the Revised Code of Conduct of the Elections Act 2017, any public office holder, including the prime minister, could not partake in any “election campaign, or canvass in any local council or announce any developmental scheme after the issuance of election schedule”. The notice maintained that there was “sufficient evidence” that the PM had violated this stipulation after he held a public gathering in Lower Dir and “utilised state machinery”.

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The ECP asked the PM to submit a written explanation and appear in person or through counsel before the commission on March 14 and noted that failure to do so would result in an ex-parte decision being taken on the matter.

The ECP notice came through after the PM addressed a political gathering in Lower Dir on Thursday. At the event, he berated the three opposition leaders namely Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

The PM said he was waiting for the no-confidence vote to go ahead against him so he could take “all three wickets with one inswing yorker”.

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During his speech, the PM referred to Rehman as ‘diesel’ and said that he was asked by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa not to call the JUI-F leader by that name. The PM added that it was not he himself who named him ‘diesel’ but the public called him so.

Following the event, Rehman reportedly spoke to the media and urged ECP to take note of the premier’s gathering, which according to him was a violation of rules after the no-confidence motion against him was submitted.



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