ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) disqualified on Thursday Basheer Ahmed Halepota, a Pakistan Peoples Party member of the Sindh Assembly, for violating the electoral code of conduct during the local government elections in Badin early this year.
A bench of the ECP headed by Chief Election Commissioner retired Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza and comprising Abdul Ghaffar Soomro (Sindh), retired Justice Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi (Punjab) and retired Justice Shakeel Ahmad Baloch (Balochistan), announced the belated decision on an application filed by Hassam Mirza, son of former speaker of the National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza.
It is for the first time in the country’s history that a lawmaker has been punished for violating the code of conduct.
In the past, the ECP failed to act against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan who had been issued notices by four different returning officers for visiting electoral constituencies even after warnings. A returning officer had issued a similar notice to Hamza Shahbaz, son of the Punjab chief minister, but no action had been taken against him as well.
Hassam Mirza had accused Mr Halepota of visiting polling stations in Badin district during the LG polls and canvassing for his rival candidate. Badin had emerged as the hotbed of politics during the LG polls where the family of disgruntled PPP leader Dr Zulfikar Mirza stood against the party and swept the elections there. Even a visit by PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to the district prior to the elections did not work.
Documentary evidence of Mr Halepota meddling in the electoral process, including video clips and photographs showing his presence in the polling stations, had also been provided to the ECP.
The code of conduct for LG polls bars members of the national and provincial assemblies from visiting the constituencies where schedule for elections has been announced.
Basheer Halepota was a member of the Sindh Assembly’s standing committees on local government and rural development, public health engineering, housing and town planning, sports and youth affairs, revenue, land utilization, relief and rehabilitation and Auqaf, religious affairs, Zakat and Ushr.
He also remained member of the National Assembly in 1985, 1988 and 1990.
The ECP will soon announce the schedule for elections on the vacant seat.
courtesy : dawn news