ECP asks Imran to explain Ghotki visit


–Says commission will take action against him in case of non-compliance

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on late Wednesday issued a show-cause notice to Prime Minister Imran Khan over his recent visit to Ghotki ahead of a by-election in NA-205, flouting the ECP’s code of conduct.

The notice issued to the PM states that “being a member of the parliament and holding the chair of the prime minister, you [Imran] were fully aware of the announcement schedule of the by-election … which requires that you cannot visit the constituency in any manner.”

It further asked the PM to explain his position within a week of receiving the notice, further warning that disciplinary action could be taken against him if he fails to do so.

The prime minister visited Ghotki on Wednesday to condole the death of Ali Muhammad Maher, who served as a federal minister in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

During the visit, he had assured the Maher brothers that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) would not be allowed to “rig the by-election” and that he would “issue directives to the authorities concerned to ensure that”.

Reportedly, the premier extended this assurance when Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) MPA, Ali Gohar Mahar, told him that the PPP was expected to rig the upcoming by-election and demanded deployment of army and Rangers personnel on polling day.

According to the letter issued by the chief election body, a complaint against the visit was registered by Abdul Bari Pitafi, a candidate from the constituency who pointed out that PM Imran’s visit to Ghotki was “in violation with the ECP code of conduct as the schedule for the by-election has already been notified”.

According to para 17(b) of the ECP code of conduct, no member of parliament can visit a constituency where by-elections are scheduled after the dates for the election have been notified.

Separately, the provincial ECP took notice of the visit of KP Minister for Tourism Atif Khan to Kurram tribal district in violation of the code of conduct.

According to an official letter, the commission requested taking necessary action in light of the code of conduct issued by ECP and submit a detail report in the instant matter for further course of action.

It is worth mentioning here that Senior Minister Atif Khan had visited district Kurram and announced the construction of three sports stadium in Kurram.