Pakistan Election Commission bars Shehbaz Sharif from campaigning for by-election National Assembly seat

Islamabad: Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has been barred by the Election Commission of Pakistan from taking part in his own by-election campaign to a National Assembly seat left vacant after the disqualification of his elder brother and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

File image of Shehbaz Sharif. AP

File image of Shehbaz Sharif. AP

According to the code of conduct issued by the the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), constitutional dignitaries, including the president, the prime minister and the provincial chief ministers, have been barred from visiting the constituency or a polling station after the issuance of the schedule for the 17 September polls.

"All these public office-holders, including the Punjab chief minister who is a potential candidate for the by-election to Lahore National Assembly seat (NA-120), have been restrained from visiting the constituency or a polling station after the issuance of the poll schedule," it said.

The ECP also told candidates that their election expenses should not exceed Rs 1.5 million and they must use a dedicated account for all transactions related to poll expenses, the Dawn newspaper reported.

The code of conduct came into effect this week immediately after the ECP announced the election schedule for Lahore National Assembly seat.

The ECP warned that legal action would be taken against any individual found violating the rules.

Terming the ECP code of conduct "confusing", political observers wondered how the holder of a public office could be barred from taking part in his own election campaign even though the law permitted a legislator to contest election for another house without tendering resignation.

A senior official of the ECP said a clear picture would emerge after the submission of nomination papers by 65-year-old Shehbaz for the by-election.

"This is a unique situation because if the chief minister of Punjab files nomination papers, he will not be campaigning for somebody else but for himself and this right can in no way be taken away from him," the official said.

Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court on Friday in connection with the Panama Papers scandal. The 67-year-old veteran politician resigned from his position that evening.

Updated Date: Aug 03, 2017 16:27 PM

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