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May 28, 2015

ECP chides teacher for using pulpit for canvassing


May 28, 2015

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday disposed of a unique case of one Habibul Haq, who was allegedly involved in using the name of Islam to woo voters and to caution them against voting for rival candidates in Malakand.
Habib, who is an activist of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), wears three caps; i.e. he is a schoolteacher, prayer leader and a political activist.
“Are you a teacher, a prayer leader or a political activist? Why don’t you focus on politics instead of teaching students at school and leading prayers at a masjid,” Habib was asked during hearing that generated a lot of interest in the ECP panel, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (R) Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan at the Election Commission Secretariat here. The Election Commission Members Justice (R) Riaz Kayani (Punjab), Justice (R) Shahzad Akbar Khan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa-KP) and Justice (R) Fazalur Rehman (Balochistan) were part of the hearing panel.
He was asked to desist from violating the code of conduct for the upcoming local bodies elections in KP. His opponents accused him of using the masjid as a platform to ask people to vote for his party candidate and not for his rival.
They continued that Habib did not stop here. He would paint the local bodies electoral bout as a battle between Islam and Kufr.
The teacher-cum-cleric-cum-political activist denied outright, having used Islam to beg votes for his party candidate. But he had to concede, when a video clip was shown to the Election Commission. On finding himself totally defenceless, Habib requested the Election Commission to pardon him, as he was retiring in four-five months, fearing an action at this critical time of his government job, would cost him dearly.
Chief Election Commissioner asked the ‘visitor’ from Malakand to stop abusing the code; otherwise, the electoral body would proceed against him.
The Election Commission had also summoned three MPAs from Khyber

Pakhtunkhwa for allegedly violation of the code: they include Imtiaz Shahid, who is provincial law minister. They all tendered unconditional apology to the commission and this was accepted.
However, they were asked to be careful and strictly comply with the code of conduct and deputy commissioner Nowshehra was directed to ensure that funds were not released for any uplift scheme.
It is pertinent that the Lahore High Court Monday in a petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s MPA Mansoor Sarwar, had allowed the president, the prime minister and political party heads to indulge in electioneering.
At the same time, the court had ruled that the Election Commission could take action on announcement of development projects and other incentives during poll campaign.
The ECP also asked Capt. (R) Muhammad Safdar to appear before it on May 28 to explain his position with regard to his alleged violation of the code of conduct for local bodies polls in KP.
Candidate for District Council Mansehra Waheed Khan has filed a petition against Safdar, who is MNA from NA-21, Mansehra, and son-in-law of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and spouse of Maryam. The notice to this effect has been sent to him through the secretary of the National Assembly. Other respondent is Naeem Sakhi, a candidate for District Council, Mansehra.
Another candidate for District Council Hangu Abdul Aziz has filed a petition against Khial Zaman, MNA from NA-16, Hangu. The Election Commission has summoned Zaman also through the secretary of the National Assembly. Another petition in the same matter is from Akhar, who is a candidate for Urban Tal.

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