‘Violation of election code’: ECP warns PM Imran against visiting Peshawar ahead of LG polls

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday warned Prime Minister Imran Khan against flouting its code of conduct amid reports of his plan to inaugurate a health insurance scheme in Peshawar today — just 10 days before the local government polls are to be held in the province.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to launch the “Micro Health Insurance Programme” during his day-long visit to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa capital today.

Under the Kamyab Pakistan Programme, the insurance initiative will provide free medical services worth Rs1 million annually to 7.5m families in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

In a letter to the premier, the ECP referred to the Media report about the PM’s planned visit to the provincial capital and reminded him of the commission’s Nov 4 notification, detailing instructions for parties and contesting candidates ahead of the elections.

The ECP had set Dec 19 and Jan 16 as the dates for the first and second phases of local government elections in the province.

“After the issuance of the election schedule, the President, Prime Minister, Governor, Speaker, Deputy Speaker of any assembly Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Senate, Federal and Provincial Ministers, Advisors to the Prime Minister or Chief Minister or any other holder of public office shall not visit the area of any local council to announce any development scheme or to canvass or campaign for any candidate,” the ECP said in its letter, a copy of which is available with media.

The ECP advised the premier not to violate any provision of the code of conduct and instructions issued by the election commission, warning that “legal proceedings under Section-233 (code of conduct) and 234 (monitoring of election campaigns) of the Elections Act, 2017 shall be initiated against you.”

A day earlier, a special assistant to the chief minister on information and public relations, Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif, said that the launch of the Pakistan Card was an important milestone towards the prime minister’s vision of an Islamic welfare state.

He had said that the prime minister, during his visit, would launch Pakistan Card that would encompass the government’s welfare initiatives including Ehsaas Ration Card, Health Card and Kisan Card.

Barrister Saif said that since the health card initiative had been launched in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the prime minister wanted to launch the Pakistan Card from the province as well.