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July 20, 2018

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Imran not to use bad language, ECP assured

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was assured on Thursday that Imran Khan would not use bad language again as the ECP barred Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan from using ‘bad’ language against his opponents and issued notices to Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) President Maulana Fazlur Rehman and NA ex-speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq on similar grounds.

A four-member ECP bench here took up the matter relating to Imran, whom it had issued notice a day earlier. The notice to Maulana Fazlur Rehman was issued as head of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, who is the MMA’s contesting candidate.

On behalf of Imran, his lawyer and senior vice-president of PTI Dr Babar Awan appeared before the bench, saying his client was not around.

Interestingly, he tried to play down the matter by saying that the term ‘donkey’ was an ordinary term and even at school a teacher would call his pupils the same.

To this, one of the commission members said that it was a different matter here, when a political leader would use such term for workers of another political party. “When major leaders use such language, it doesn't send a good impression to the world,” he remarked and said that the code of conduct should be strictly observed. On the occasion of homecoming of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam, Imran had said whosoever would go to the airport to receive them, must be a donkey.

Imran’s lawyer countered this and said that Imran got called worse ‘things’ and pointed out that words such as Taliban Khan and Yahoodi Khan were being used against him. He then drew attention of the bench towards a video clip of former NA speaker and PML-N candidate Ayaz Sadiq.

The print, electronic and social media had reported and played the clip, in which he was heard using unseemly language against PTI and its Chairman Imran Khan, cautioning voters in the Punjab not to vote for this party and its chairman. Punjab ECP member Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi asked him to remain confined to the notice, as notices were being issued to more political leaders.

Dr Awan agreed to ‘advice’ by the bench and also assured to submit a statement in writing as well on this count. The ECP adjourned the hearing until after the July 25 general election.

In a related development, the ECP also issued notices to Maulana Fazl and Ayaz Sadiq, citing electronic and print media reports and said that their speeches at public gathering contained abusive, insolent and very derogatory language in respect of other political parties.

“This behaviour certainly constitutes a violation of the code of conduct, issued for political parties and candidates, by the Election Commission. You are, therefore, directed to desist from such tendencies immediately and you are directed to appear in person or through counsel on July 21, failing which the case shall be decided in your absence,” the notices said.

A similar notice was also issued to former chief minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and PTI candidate Pervaiz Khattak, who was asked to appear before the Election Commission or send his counsel in this connection for hearing.

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