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IHC bars ECP from taking action against PM Khan for code of conduct violation

Justice Farooq says electoral body cannot disqualify candidates or impose fines

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday has stopped the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from acting against Prime Minister Imran Khan for purportedly violating the conduct code during the continuing campaign for the second phase of the local body elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Justice Aamer Farooq noted that the electoral body had the authority to issue notices over breach of its law but couldn’t disqualify candidates or impose fines.

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The ECP previously served notices to Prime Minister Imran Khan, KP Governor Shah Farman, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, federal ministers Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar and Murad Saeed, and others for violation of the canvassing rules prior to the elections, which will be held on March 31.

Following the notices, PM Khan and Planning Minister Asad Umar petitioned the IHC, claiming that public office holders were allowed to electioneer during election campaigns after the presidential ordinance that amended election laws.

Last month, President Dr. Arif Alvi had publicized an ordinance modifying the Elections Act and added Section 181(A) to it. According to the amendment, lawmakers were now allowed to visit or address public meetings or rallies in “any area or constituency” prior to elections.

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