ISLAMABAD – The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued a code of conduct for the Senate elections, the polling for which is scheduled to take place on Saturday.
According to the code of conduct, no legislator would be allowed to carry mobile phones in the polling stations i.e. assembly buildings, while the lawmakers would need their secretariat cards for entry to the assembly halls.
The code of conduct also stresses the MNAs and MPAs to ensure the secrecy of their votes and to handle the ballot paper with care so as not to spoil it.
“Action would be taken against anyone using a fake ballot paper while there would be a complete ban on taking it outside the polling station,” the ECP has stated.
According to the election regulator, the returning officer would be entrusted with the authority of a level one magistrate under which the officer would be able to announce a punishment immediately after carrying out a summary trial against the violators.
The returning officer would also have the authority to cancel a ballot paper and announce a punishment if it is handed over to an unauthorised person.
The punishment for violating the code of conduct includes a fine of up to Rs100,000 and/or a jail term between six months and two years under the clause 183 of Election Act. The ECP also reserves the right to disqualify the legislator in case of gross violation.
On the suggestion of returning officers, Rangers and Frontier Constabulary personnel will be deployed outside the assemblies.
As many as 52 senators would be completing their six-year term on March 11. According to ECP, 12 candidates will be selected from Punjab and Sindh each, 11 each from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan while four senators will be elected on general seats from FATA. Two candidates will be selected from the capital, Islamabad.
The polling for the election will be held in all the four provincial assemblies and National Assembly. Members of all the provincial assemblies will vote for their representatives, while MNAs from Fata will elect the four senators. Two senators from Islamabad will be selected by the National Assembly.
Currently, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is the major party in Senate with 27 seats and its outgoing senator are 18. It has fielded 17 persons for the upcoming elections.