CODE OF CONDUCT FOR POLITICAL PARTIES AND CONTESTING
CANDIDATES FOR GENERAL ELECTIONS, 2002
Whereas for the purpose of effective and meaningful consultation with the political parties, the Code of Conduct for 1997 General Elections was published in newspapers and was given extensive publicity through electronic and print media on 5th July, 2002 for eliciting their valuable suggestions by 5th August, 2002 as to whether the provisions of afore-mentioned Code of Conduct may be retained in its present form or any of its provision may be modified or amended or some new provisions may be added to the Code of Conduct for General Elections, 2002;
And whereas pursuant to the aforesaid measures taken by the Election Commission, proposals have been received from political parties which have been given due consideration;
Now, therefore, in pursuance of Article 218(2) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, read with Articles 5(3) and 6 of the Election Commission Order, 2002 (Chief Executive’s Order No. 1 of 2002), and Article 18 of Political Parties Order, 2002 (Chief Executive’s Order No. 18 of 2002), and all other powers enabling in that behalf, the Election Commission is pleased to issue the following Code of Conduct for political parties and contesting candidates for the forthcoming General Elections, 2002.
(1) The political parties shall not propagate any opinion, or act in any manner prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan, or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan, or morality, or the maintenance of public order, or the integrity or independence of the judiciary of Pakistan, or which defames or brings into ridicule the judiciary or the armed forces of Pakistan, as provided under Article 63 of the Constitution.
(2) Criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programme, past record and work. Parties and candidates shall refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life, not connected with the public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties. Criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or on distortion shall be avoided.
(3) Concerned political parties and contesting candidates may announce their overall development programme. But following the announcement of the election schedule till the day of polling, no candidate or any person on his behalf shall, openly or in secret, given any subscription or donation, or make promise for giving such subscription or donation, to any institution of their respective constituency or to any other institution, nor shall commit to undertake any development project in the respective constituency.
(4) All parties and candidates, shall avoid scrupulously all activities which are “corrupt practices” and offences under the election law such as the bribing of voters, intimidation of votes, personation of voters, canvassing within 400 years of a polling station, holding public meetings during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for the close of the poll.
(5) The right of every individual for peaceful and undisturbed home life shall be respected, however much the political parties or candidates may resent his political opinions or activities. Organising demonstrations or picketing before the houses of individuals by way of protesting against their opinions or activities shall not be resorted to under any circumstances.
(6) No political party or candidate shall permit his followers to make use of any individual’s land, building, compound wall, etc. without his permission for creating flag-staffs, suspending banners, pasting notices, writing slogans, etc.
(7) Political parties and candidates shall ensure that their supporters do no create obstructions in or break up meetings and processions organized by the other parties. Workers or sympathizers of one political party shall not create disturbance at public meetings organized by another political party.
(8) Processions shall not be taken out by one party along places at which meetings are being held by another party. Posters issued by one party shall not be removed by workers of another party.
(9) The party or candidates shall inform the local administration of the venue and time of any proposed meeting well in time so as to enable the police to make necessary arrangements for controlling traffic and maintaining peace and order.
(10) A party or candidate shall ascertain in advance if there are any restrictive or prohibitory orders in force in the place proposed for the meeting. If such order exist, they shall be followed strictly. If any exception is required form such orders it shall be applied for and obtained well in time.
(11) Organisers of a meeting shall invariable seek the assistance of the police on duty for dealing with persons disturbing a meeting or otherwise attempting to create a disorder. Organisers themselves shall not take action against such persons.
(12) A party or candidate organizing a procession shall decide before hand the time and place of the staring of the procession, the route to be followed and the time and place at which the procession will terminate. There shall ordinarily be no deviation from the programme. The organizers shall give advance intimation to the local police authorities of the programmes so as to enable them to make necessary arrangements.
(13) The organizers shall ascertain if any restrictive orders are in force in the localities through which the procession has to pass, and shall comply with the restrictions unless exempted specially by competent authority. Any traffic regulations or restrictions shall also be carefully adhered to.
(14) The organizers shall take steps in advance to arrange for passage of the procession so that there is no block or hindrance to traffic. If the procession is very long, it shall be organized in segments of suitable lengths, so that at convenient intervals, especially at points where the procession has to pass read junctions, the passage of held up traffic could be allowed by stages thus avoiding heavy traffic congestion.
(15) Processions shall be so regulated as to keep as much to the right of the road as possible and the direction and advice of the police on duty shall be strictly complied with.
(16) If two or more political parties or candidates propose to take processions over the same route or parts thereof at about the same time, the organizers shall establish contact well in advance and decide upon the measures to be taken to see that the processions do not clash or cause hindrance to traffic. The assistance of the local administration shall be availed of for arriving at a satisfactory arrangement. For this purpose, the parties shall contract the local administration at the earliest opportunity.
(17) The political parties or candidates shall exercise control to the maximum extent possible in the matter of processionists carrying article which may be put to misuse by undesirable elements, especially in moments of excitement.
(18) All political parties and candidates shall:—
(i) co-operative with the officers on election duty to ensure peaceful and orderly polling and complete freedom to the voters to exercise their franchise without being subjected to any annoyance or obstruction;
(ii) supply to their authorized workers suitable badges or identity cards;
(iii) agree that the identity slips supplied by them to voters shall be on plain (white) papers and shall not contain any symbol, name of the candidate or the name of the party.
(19) Political parties should carry out a comprehensive plan for education of voters in the manner of marking the ballot paper and casting votes.
(20) Excepting the voters, candidates or duly authorized election agents, no one without a valid pass from the Election Commission or Provincial Election Commissioner concerned or District Returning Officers shall enter the polling booths. However, the Commonwealth/European Union and other recognized bodies will be provided free access to witness the election process on production of the identification cards/passes issued to them by the aforesaid Election Commission authorities.
(21) Section 83A of the Representation of People Act, 1976 lays down that :—
(i) No person or political party shall affix hoarding, posters or banners larger than the sizes mentioned hereunder :—
(a) Posters 2′ x 3′
(b) Hoardings 3′ x 5′
(c) Banners 3′ x 9′
The local authority and the Returning Officer shall be responsible for the effective implementation of the provisions of this section.
(22) Use of stickers of the size 4″ x 4″ and leaflets/handbills of the size 9″ x 6″ shall also be allowed.