ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to PM (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Aashiq Awan on Friday said that it was uncanny that Prime Minister Imran Khan had been issued a show-cause notice by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) over a visit to Ghotki.
PM visited Ghotki on Wednesday to condole the death of federal minister for narcotics control Ali Mohammad Mahar. It was Mahar’s death which had required the by-poll for the NA-205 seat. By-elections on the seat are scheduled to take place on July 18.
The ECP has issued show-cause notices to the PM, Minister for Inter-provincial Cooordination Dr Fehmida Mirza, Minister for Privatisation and Aviation Muhammad Mian Soomro and Sindh Governor Imran Ismail for visiting Ghotki prior to the by-election. In the show-cause notice, all of the ministers have been given one week to submit a reply on 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.
Speaking to media outside the parliament, Awan said, “the prime minister had gone to Ghotki to convey his condolences over the death of an esteemed member of his Cabinet, federal minister for narcotics control Ali Mohammad Mahar. There was no press conference and the prime minister did not announce any packages for the people of the area.”
She added, “in spite of this, the ECP in Sindh, on the request of a candidate that had gone to submit his candidacy papers in full police protocol, chose to send a show cause notice to PM. This episode has made it clear to us that our fight is not over; our institutions are not fully independent as yet and that we have to work towards truly free and fair elections.”
SAPM alleged, “it is strange that ECP issued a notice to the prime minister for visiting Ghotki, but the same commission turned a blind eye when the Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah opened his coffers for campaigning, or when sitting members of parliament went to places and tried to entice the population with attractive development offers.”