Pakistan Election 2013: 70 Govt Officials Campaign for Candidates in 25 Constituencies

ISLAMABAD: Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) observers witnessed a total of 70 government officials participating in political activities in 25 constituencies across the country.

Thirty-six officials were seen seeking votes for different candidates in 12 constituencies, while another 17 officials were observed participating in political rallies, in 12 different constituencies, says Pre-Election Update 37 released on Sunday.

The Constituency Long-Term Observers (CLTOs) saw 14 officials having private meetings with political candidates in seven constituencies, while one official was seen allowing a candidate to use official resources. In addition, FAFEN observers saw a party flag put up at a public official’s residence, and another flag on a vehicle belonging to a government servant.

FAFEN Pre-Election Update 37 highlights the use of state resources by political parties for election campaigns. It has been prepared from information gathered by the Free and Fair Election Network’s (FAFEN) Constituency Long-Term Observers (CLTOs) from April 1 to April 23, 2013.

FAFEN observers also reported seeing 74 campaign materials (banners, posters, stickers, wall chalking, panaflexes and flags) on the premises of government buildings. PML-N had the highest incidence (24) of campaign material displayed on state buildings, followed by independent candidates (19), Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (10), Awami National Party (seven), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (six), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (four), Jamaat-e-Islami (three) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (one). The CLTOs reported the initiation of 38 development schemes by political leaders.

FAFEN recommends that the ECP should take action against parties and candidates violating the Code of Conduct and ensure no political campaign material is there at any government office or public place.

The ECP should ensure that government officials do not take part in campaign of any party or candidate and action must be taken against violators.

Political parties and citizens should observe public offices across the country and report any campaigning at public offices.

FAFEN’s CLTOs also observed the participation of government officials in political activities, the announcement of development schemes, and use of government vehicles in political campaigns. The CLTOs observed the government officials’ participation in political campaigns in 25 constituencies, government buildings in 30 constituencies, and development schemes in 18 constituencies.

Most of the government officials (15) were seen seeking votes for PML-N candidates, followed by 11 officials doing so for independent candidates, five officials for PTI candidates, two for PPP and one for JUI-F candidate. FAFEN observers could not identify the party affiliation of officials seeking votes for candidates in two instances.

The majority (22) of the 36 officials seeking votes for candidates belonged to the Education Department. They included schoolteachers and principals, who play an influential role in securing a vote bank in rural areas. The observer in Multan saw EDO Education seeking votes for a PML-N candidate, while a Deputy District Education Officer was seen seeking votes for an independent candidate in Faisalabad.

In addition to education officials, the EDO Health in Kurram Agency was seen seeking votes for a JUI-F candidate while a police inspector was observed doing so for a PML-N candidate in Narowal.

Similarly, an AJK minister was also seen seeking votes for a PML-N candidate in Narowal, while two revenue officers were seen doing so for an independent candidate in Bhakkar.

FAFEN observers witnessed a PPPP candidate meeting a police official, two health officials and five education officials in Jamshoro, and also observed a meeting between a JUI-F candidate and EDO Health in Kurram Agency. In addition, the observers saw the District Coordination Officer (DCO) in Shaheed Benazirabad having a private meeting with a PPPP candidate, while an Assistant Commissioner was seen having a meeting with a leader of Balochistan National Party-Mengal in Kech-cum-Gwadar. Moreover, an official belonging to the Irrigation Department was also seen having a private meeting with a PML-F candidate in Matiari-cum-Hyderabad.

FAFEN observers saw a total of 17 government officials participating in political rallies, most of whom belonged to the Education Department. The observers reported seeing the EDOs (Education) at PPPP rallies in Jamshoro and Mirpurkhas-cum-Umerkot, while another EDO Education was seen at a JUI-F candidate’s rally in Dera Ismail Khan-cum-Tank. The observer in NA-213 (Shaheed Benazirabad-I) saw the EDO Works and Services at a PPPP rally, while the observer in NA-72 (Mianwali-II) reported seeing a police constable at a PTI rally.

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