Pak: Electoral Commission bans govt employees from participating in poll activities

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Islamabad [Pakistan], December 27: Ahead of the 2024 general elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued an advisory, instructing government employees, including officers to refrain from participating in political activities.
The ECP issued the advisory on Tuesday, emphasising that government officials were prohibited from engaging in election activities.
Moreover, it also stated that officials seeking leave must obtain permission from Returning Officers (ROs), while district officers must seek permission from District Returning Officers (DROs).
According to the ECP advisory, federal government employees up to Grade 19 can have their leave sanctioned by DROs. Officers in Grade-20 and above must obtain leave approval directly from the commission.
Meanwhile, the ECP also issued instructions regarding canvassing through banners, posters and handbills, with a complete ban on wall chalking of any size.
Moreover, the electoral body stressed that the violations would be treated as illegal practices, and under no circumstances should the picture of a government official be printed on any publicity material by any political party, candidate, or election agent.
Notably, if violated, strict legal action shall be taken against printing presses that do not comply with the above directions.
The election commission directed all provinces and the federal capital territory regarding the sizes and other details related to canvassing material.
Following this, the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration and the provinces have directed the districts to strictly comply with the instructions and warned that non-compliance would lead to legal action.
The ECP further highlighted that no person or political party will affix or distribute posters, handbills, pamphlets, leaflets, banners, or portraits larger than the sizes prescribed by the ECP.
The statement said, “Violation will be treated as an illegal practice, in order to preserve the sanctity of Holy Quranic verses, the sayings of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), or holy scriptures pertaining to other religions, the political parties, candidates, and election agents are expected to avoid the printing thereof on aforesaid publicity material.”

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