ISLAMABAD, April 23, 2013: The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) observers in 30 National Assembly constituencies observed a total of 49 rallies by candidates of 10 political parties and independent candidates from April 2 to 15, 2013, says FAFEN’s Pre-Election Update 34.
Of the 49 rallies, 34 were held in 17 constituencies of Punjab, six in five constituencies of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP), three in as many constituencies of Sindh, two in as many constituencies of Balochistan, three in two constituencies of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and one in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
Most observed rallies (45, or 85.7%) violated the ECP Code in one or more respects. Four rallies were held outside the residence of opponents/candidates/political leaders. Twelve rallies caused inconvenience to people and traffic jams, and 33 rallies were held at un-notified locations.
The highest number of violations of the ECP Code of Conduct was observed at the rallies of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), with 11 violations during nine rallies, and Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), with 11 violations in 10 rallies. Ten rallies of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had as many violations, followed by eight violations by independent candidates in 11 rallies.
FAFEN has deployed Constituency Long-Term Observers (CLTOs) in every NA constituency across the country to observe all electoral processes, including election campaigning. This Pre-Election Update is based on CLTO reports about political rallies held between April 2 and 15, 2013.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Code of Conduct for political parties and candidates is intended to ensure a level playing field for all parties and candidates, and to maintain public security and convenience during the campaign period.
The ECP press releases on March 22 and April 6 indicate that it “has appointed more than 400 monitoring teams across the country to monitor political activities in General Election 2013.” Based on observations, FAFEN recommends the following:
- ECP monitoring teams should respond to violations identified by FAFEN pre-election observers in each National Assembly constituency as well as reliable information gathered by other partisan and non-partisan sources.
- ECP should communicate all actions taken against violators of the Code of Conduct to the media and the public.
According to FAFEN observers, 33 campaign rallies were held at locations not notified to the public by the district administration. Twelve rallies caused inconvenience to the public or traffic jams. Four rallies were held outside the residence of opponents/candidates/political leaders.
At least seven rallies violated more than one of these provisions of the ECP Code. Seven rallies (14.3%) did not violate the ECP Code. Most observed rallies (42, or 85.7%) violated the ECP Code in one or more respects.
Among the nine observed PTI campaign rallies, eight rallies were held at un-notified places and three caused inconvenience to the public and traffic.
Observers of 10 PPPP rallies noted six that were held at un-notified places. One rally was outside the residence of opponents/candidates/political leaders, and four caused inconvenience to the public.
Ten rallies of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had as many violations. Eight rallies were held at un-notified places and two caused inconvenience to the public.
Independent candidates held 11 rallies committing eight violations including seven being held at un-notified places and one causing inconvenience to people.
Four violations were noted at two rallies of Pakistan Muslim League (PML). PML organized two rallies in NA-104 and both were held at un-notified places and outside the residence of an opponent/candidate/political leader.
Observers noted two violations during one rally in NA-268 of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazalur Rehman (JUI-F) that was held outside an opponent’s residence and at a place not notified by the district administration.
Two violations were witnessed during a rally of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Samiul Haq (JUI-S) that was held at an un-notified place and caused inconvenience to the public.
During one rally of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), one violation was observed. ASWJ organized a rally in NA-22 that caused inconvenience to the public.
No violations were observed in two rallies of Awami National Party (ANP) in NA-28 and NA-37. Observers also did not report any violations at one rally of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in NA-259 or one rally of Awami Workers Party (AWP) in NA-28.
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