ECP freezes development funds of municipal institutions ahead of election

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ISLAMABAD: Ahead of the February 8 polls, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday froze the development funds of municipal institutions.

The uplift funds for the local government (LG) institutions would be frozen until the announcement of the election results, the poll organising authority issued a notification in this regard.

The new order read that the local governments would only perform routine affairs of sanitation and cleanliness across the country. The ECP also banned the launching of any LG development schemes and work on previous projects.

Additionally, the local bodies and cantonment boards have been barred from issuing tenders until the conclusion of the entire electoral process.

In another development today, the top electoral body informed the candidates and political parties contesting the nationwide polls that there will be no poll campaign after February 6 at midnight.

“According to Section 182 of the Elections Act 2017, no person shall hold or participate in any public meeting, procession, corner meeting or such political activity after midnight on February 6, 2024, and February 7, 2024,” The News reported quoted ECP’s spokesperson as saying.

“Therefore, legal action will be taken against any person who violates the above provision of the law,” the spokesperson added.

The polling is slated for February 8.

Election security code

Last week, the ECP had issued its “Code of Conduct for Security Personnel”, warning them against bias while being on election duty.

The ECP’s protocol, which excludes the armed forces and civil armed forces, directs the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to perform their duties in accordance with the law and within the confines of the mandate assigned to the police.

Security personnel — who will provide security for the printing and transport of ballot papers along with the polling bags — will perform their duties under Article 220 of the Constitution of Pakistan, Section 5 read with Section 193 of the Election Act, 2017.

Directing the security apparatus to cooperate with district returning officers (DROs), returning officers (ROs) and presiding officers (POs), the electoral body has stressed the need for LEAs to “remain impartial and neutral throughout the election process […] and shall not act in favour of or against any political party or candidate in any manner whatsoever”.

Underscoring the significance of ensuring a peaceful and transparent polling process, the ECP has warned security personnel against disallowing a voter to cast his/her vote.