The Lahore High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on a petition of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) challenging a code announced by the commission that bars parliamentarians from participating in campaign for by-elections being held in various constituencies.
Justice Ayesha A. Malik heard initial arguments of Advocate Hamid Khan and admitted the petition for hearing. PTI’s candidate from PP-147, Shoaib Siddiqui, filed the petition. The counsel argued that the impugned ban was in sheer violation of the fundamental rights and norms of democracy. He said Imran Khan, the PTI chairman, was a member of the National Assembly and by virtue of the impugned ban he could not visit the area of any constituency where by-elections were being held.
He said it was integral to an electoral campaign that the party leaders visit the constituencies and address the electorate and meet party workers. He said the ECP code muted the electioneering plans of the party by curbing its political activism, which was at the core of any parliamentary democracy. He argued that the restriction on parliamentarians was unconstitutional and violated fundamental rights. He asked the court to strike down the code for being unconstitutional. The judge would resume hearing on Wednesday.