ECP asks Bilawal to explain Larkana visit


The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued a show-cause notice to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari along with other party leaders after he visited Larkana’s PS-11 constituency ahead of a by-election.

Bilawal had visited the constituency on Saturday to lead his party’s election campaign where PPP leader Jamil Soomro is slated to contest elections on Oct 17.

Upon his arrival, the PPP chief held rallies in different parts of Larkana, flouting ECP’s code of conduct.

According to Para 17 of the conduct, no legislator can visit a constituency where by-elections are scheduled and dates for the elections have been announced.

The ECP held Bilawal in clear violation of its code of conduct and sent him a notification to him on Oct 12 asking him to, “explain [his] position” within a day and warned that failure to do so will result in disciplinary action.

“Being a member of the National Assembly, you were fully aware about the announcement of schedule of by-election,” the notification read.

Similar notices were also issued to PPP leaders, who visited Larkana as well, including Nisar Khuhro, Sharjeel Memon, Syed Nasir Shah, Khursheed Ahmed Junejo, Sohail Anwar Siyal and others, with the same instructions.

The ECP had announced that by-elections be held in PS-11 after Grand Democratic Alliance’s Moazzam Abbasi was deseated by the Supreme Court in August.

Reacting to the notice, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, the spokesman of the PPP chief, said that “no law stops Bilawal to go to his constituency”. He asked how could the ECP send a notice to a member pf the National Assembly for going to his constituency?

Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar in a statement on Sunday said that the ECP cannot restore its “lost credibility by such actions”.

He said that the ECP has yet to answer questions about the rigged elections in 2018. “What is the logic behind the fact that the army troops could be deployed inside and outside polling stations, but MNA could not go to his constituency,” he asked.