ECP Halts Local Government Spending and Campaigning Ahead of Polls

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has imposed strict restrictions on the local government institutions and political parties in the run-up to the February 8 general elections.

According to a notification issued by the ECP on Tuesday, the development funds of the municipal institutions will be frozen until the announcement of the election results. The local governments will only be allowed to perform routine affairs of sanitation and cleanliness across the country.

The ECP has also prohibited the launching of any new development schemes by the local bodies and cantonment boards, except for those projects that were already approved and ongoing before the election schedule. Moreover, the local bodies and cantonment boards have been barred from issuing any tenders until the completion of the electoral process.

The ECP has also reminded the candidates and the political parties that the election campaign will end at midnight on February 6, as per Section 182 of the Elections Act 2017. No person will be permitted to hold or participate in any public meeting, procession, corner meeting, or any other political activity after the deadline.

The ECP’s spokesperson has warned that legal action will be taken against anyone who violates the law and disrupts the peaceful and transparent conduct of the elections.

The ECP has also issued its “Code of Conduct for Security Personnel” last week, instructing the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to perform their duties in accordance with the law and the mandate assigned to the police. The code of conduct excludes the armed forces and the civil armed forces, who will provide security for the printing and transport of ballot papers and polling bags.

The ECP has directed the LEAs to cooperate with the district returning officers (DROs), returning officers (ROs), and presiding officers (POs), and to remain impartial and neutral throughout the election process. The ECP has also cautioned the security personnel against preventing any voter from casting his/her vote.

The ECP has urged the voters, the candidates, the political parties, and the security personnel to abide by the law and the code of conduct and to ensure a free, fair, and credible election on February 8.

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