Ambiguities in campagin expenditure limits
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
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
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.