ECP issues Premier show-cause notice for visiting Ghotki ahead of July 18 by-poll

By Shakeel Ahmed

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued a show-cause notice to Prime Minister Imran Khan for visiting Ghotki ahead of the NA-205 by-election next month.

Prime Minister Imran visited Ghotki to condole the death of federal minister for narcotics control Ali Mohammad Mahar. It was Mahar’s death which had necessitated the by-election for the NA-205 seat. By-elections on the seat are scheduled to take place on July 18.

While in Ghotki, the prime minister assured the Maher brothers that that the Pakistan Peoples Party would not be allowed to rig a by-election and that he would issue directives to the authorities concerned to ensure that.

According to the letter issued by the election commission, a complaint against the visit was registered by Abdul Bari Pitafi, a candidate from the constituency.

The candidate 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.

In the show-cause notice, the prime minister has been given one week to submit a reply in the matter.

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.

Earlier on Wednesday, PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar also accused the prime minister of violating the ECP rules. “The visit of the prime minister to National Assembly’s constituency 205 is rigging,” Khokhar, PPP chairman’s spokesperson, had said in a statement.

He had urged the ECP to take notice of what he called “interference” of the prime minister and federal ministers in election affairs. “If the Election Commission wants to protect its image from further deterioration, it should take action over the violation,” he had added.