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ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) reserved its verdict on Friday in the cases against Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan, former governor KP Shah Farman and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi - related to code of conduct violation in KP local government elections.

In the course of proceedings, the counsel for CM KP contended that the CM did not receive any notice regarding violation of code of conduct related to LG polls. The CM was fined without been given the opportunity of being heard, he added.

The counsel for governor KP said the ex-governor did not announce any development package in KP after the announcement of LG polls schedule. The governor enjoys immunity from criminal proceedings under Article 248 of the constitution, he maintained. Farman was the governor of the province when ECP initiated code of conduct violation case against him, the counsel said.

Article 248 (2) provides that no criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the president or a governor in any court during his term of office.

Article 248 (3) provides that no process for the arrest or imprisonment of the president or a governor shall issue from any court during his term of office. Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, who headed the three-member bench, comprising of Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Muhammad Jatoi, which heard the case, remarked that governor was supposed to maintain impartiality in discharge of his duties by not siding with any political party. Questions are raised when governor visits electoral constituencies along with prime minister and other government functionaries, he added.

Former foreign minister’s counsel said the ex-minister did not announce any development package related to LG elections in KP. The district monitoring officer (DMO) issued notice to Qureshi for Malakand public rally and ex-minister’s reply was submitted in the ECP, the counsel added.

The bench then reserved its verdict in the case that would expectedly be announced soon.

On March 31, LG elections in village/neighbourhood and city/tehsil councils were held in the remaining 18 out of 35 districts of KP under second phase: Swat, Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Upper Chitral, Lower Chitral, Shangla, Malakand, Kurram, Orakzai, Abbottabad, Battagram, Kolai Pallas, Mansehra, Torghar, Upper Kohistan, Lower Kohistan, North Waziristan and South Waziristan.

On December 19 last year, LG elections for village/neighbourhood and tehsil/city councils were held in 17 districts of KP under first phase: Peshawar, Buner, Bajaur, Mardan, Swabi, Nowshera, Kohat, Karak, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, Tank, Haripur, Khyber, Mohmand, Charsadda, Hangu and Lakki Marwat.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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