ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman, Imran Khan, and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s central leader, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, Monday rejected allegations that they had violated code of conduct during by-elections on National Assembly seats from Punjab held last year.

Legal counsels of the two leaders told the election commission during the hearing of their cases that none of those leaders had violated the code of conduct. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retd) Sadar Raza Khan put off the hearing till March 29 and asked the legal counsel of Hamza to file response in line with the notice issued by the commission.

Imran’s counsel, Naeem Bukhari, pleaded that, “We had received two notices and we had given replies of both of them. Our reply is the same what we have earlier filed.”

He said: “It has been alleged that Imran Khan had visited the respective constituency. But Imran Khan is a member of the National Assembly, not a functionary of Punjab government. He did not violate the code of conduct of by-polls. Imran Khan was running a campaign against corruption.”

The Chief Election Commissioner said that a sitting MNA or MPA could influence by-election if he visits the constituency.

Upon this, Bukhari said that without public meetings there would be no election.

The CEC remarked that candidates could hold public meetings but those should not be held 15 to 20 days before elections because the visit of a provincial or federal legislator in a constituency of by-polls could influence the polls.

Bokhari and Hamza’s counsel took the plea that they did not violate the code of conduct of the ECP. The counsel for Hamza argued that it was not laid down in the code of conduct of general elections that there was any restriction on the MNAs visiting constituencies.

It is mentioned in the code of conduct that these rules would be applicable to by-polls. He said Hamza did not receive any notice from the ECP and the notice, which was sent to Hamza was sent to the wrong address.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 28-Feb-2017 here.