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Ambiguities in campagin expenditure limits

While following the process of submission of nomination papers by candidates and reviewing the procedures laid down by the ECP for campaign expenditure etc, an interesting thing came to light which individu-land would like to share with you.

The website of the Election Commission of Pakistan (www.ecp.gov.pk) has the Code of Conduct for local bodies' elections in Urdu. You will recall that individualland also shared with you the English translation of it on July 25th 2005.

Individualland would like to direct your attention to page 4 of the code which prescribes the campaign expenditure limit for the different categories as under:

District Nazim: Rs 500,000 for Punjab, Sindh & NWFP. Rs 200,000 for Balochistan.

Tehsil Nazim: Rs 300,000 for Punjab, Sindh & NWFP. Rs 150,000 for Balochistan.

For the rest of the tiers, the campaign limit is the same for all the provinces but the limit for Balochistan is still shown in a separate column.

Individu-land contacted the ECP to understand the rationale behind this difference. They were most cooperative and instead told individualland that actually there is a mistake and that actually the expenditure limits for Nazim and Tehsil Nazim are same for Punjab and Sindh while same for NWFP and Balochistan. When it was pointed out to them that their own website shows that NWFP has the same limits as Punjab and Sindh, the reply was, `` We don't know what is on the ECP website but this is the fact." In fact, the ECP official even mailed us a version of the code which showed two columns titled, `` Punjab & Sindh" and NWFP & Balochistan" Individu-land would be happy to share with you a copy of this version if you are interested. When asked as to the reason behind the difference in the limits of only the Nazim and the Town Nazim, the ECP representative declared that ECP in Islamabad only compiled the information sent by the provinces and thus the provinces would be able to share the rationale. The Balochistan provincial election commission was contacted whose spokesperson maintained that these were the instructions sent to them by Islamabad. He did not buy the argument that it was a provincial subject. The Frontier election commission set up did not have a spokesperson to give an official statement and officers were reluctant to talk to indivdiualland on this issue. When the candidates in both the provinces were contacted, they declared that whatever the limits, they have to contest and win regardless of the expenditure.

All of the above raises certain questions such as :

1 What is actually the expenditure limit for Nazim and Tehsil Nazim in NWFP? Same as in Sindh and Punjab or as in Balochistan?

2 Why are there different versions of the Code of Conduct being circulated by the ECP itself? There is a different one on the website and a different one being circulated by the officials themselves.

3 Keeping aside the NWFP confusion for a second, what is the reason for having different limits for Nazim and Town Nazim in Balochistan? It cannot be on account of limited resources with citizens there because then the limits for the members of the Union Council, reserved seats, Union Nazim etc should also have been less than the other provinces as the more resource strapped individuals would be contesting for these tiers.

These are some questions that individu-land wanted to pose to its readers.



individualland.com (Last Updated Wednesday, 26 October 2016)

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