ECP fixes limits for polls expenses, publicity matter; bans car rallies, loudspeakers

The Election Commission of Pakistan Thursday fixed a limit of election expenditures at Rs 1.5 million for National Assembly and Rs1 million for provincial assemblies.

It also decided to ban car rallies, use of loud speakers and over sized publicity material.

According to the ECP directive, each contesting candidate shall open an account to deposit the fixed amount and ensure to make all expenditures out of this amount.

The candidate would not be allowed to make any transaction out of specific account for election. The candidate would submit to the District Returning Officer on every Thursday of the campaign period, a statement of election expenses made by him during the preceding week.

According to the ECP, car rallies are not allowed to travel long distances except if they have pre-arranged corner meetings at specific designated places and the meetings shall be notified to the ordinary public by the local administration.

The political parties have been directed to affix posters sized 2-feet x 3-feet, hoardings of 3-feet x 5-feet, banners of 3-feet x 9-feet and leaflets sized 9-inches x 6 inches.

No person or a political party shall hoist or fix party flags on any public property or at any public place, except with the permission from and on fee payment to the concerned local government or authorities.

The ECP has banned the wall chalking as part of an election campaign and use of loudspeakers except at the election meetings.

The political parties and candidates have been asked to convey their schedule of meeting at least one week in advance to the local administration that would be responsible for appropriate security arrangements and ensure equal opportunities to the contesting candidates.

The ECP has banned setting up of camps near the polling stations on the polling day, canvassing for votes, persuading any elector not to vote for a particular candidate, or exhibiting any notice, sign, banner or flag designed to encourage or discourage the electors within a radius of 400 yards of the polling station.

The ECP has also restricted the political party or a contesting candidate or their supporters to distribute Perchis containing voters’ details i.e. name, parentage, Gharana number, serial number etc or the one containing symbol of a political party or contesting candidate.

According to the directive, no political party or a contesting candidate or an election agent or their supporters shall use any vehicle to convey to or from the polling station any elector except himself and members of his immediate family.

The ECP has clarified that any violation of the said directive is a corrupt practice and punishable with imprisonment for a term that may extend to three years or with fine up to Rs5,000 or with both.

The two-member teams, with a video camera, shall monitor the election process including campaign expenditure and observance of code of conduct by contesting candidates and political parties.

The teams will report to the Provincial Election Commissioner on daily basis and the local administration shall provide necessary security to each team during the monitoring in the constituency.

The District Returning Officers shall hold meetings with the candidates and apprise them of the relevant laws, rules and the judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, pertaining to the code of conduct and election campaign expenses.