ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan Thursday issued schedule as well as code of conduct for the general elections to be held on July 25.

Announcing the schedule at a press conference at the ECP Secretariat, Election Commission Secretary Babar Yaqoob said candidates can file nomination papers from June 2 to June 6.

Returning officers will publish names of candidates on June 7 and start scrutiny of their credentials the same day. Scrutiny process would conclude on June 14.

Those having any objections against acceptance or rejection of nomination papers by returning officers would be able to file appeals against these decisions by June 19.

Appellate tribunals would conduct hearing in such petitions till June 26. Once this process concludes, revised lists of candidates would be published by the returning officers on June 27. June 28 is the last date for withdrawal of nomination papers. ROs will allocate election symbols to the candidates on June 29.

He said the same programme will be applicable to the seats reserved for women and non-Muslims in the National and provincial assemblies of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan.

Earlier, the ECP issued a provisional code of conduct pertaining to the forthcoming general elections.

A meeting between the ECP officials and representatives of political parties is underway in Islamabad on this account.

The six-category code outlines rules and regulations for political parties, candidates and election agents. The categories are: general conduct, campaign, publicity, meetings and processions, polling day and miscellaneous.

Political parties and candidates have been asked to refrain from propagating opinions contrary to the Constitution and the ideology of Pakistan. They have also been told to uphold the rights and freedom of the people of Pakistan.

The rules also barred the government or any authority from posting or transferring any official appointed or deputed in connection with polls without prior the approval of ECP.

Failing to abide by the code of conduct and maligning the electoral body in any form whatsoever would entail contempt, according to the rules drafted by the commission.

Political parties have been told not to receive money from prospective candidates in the guise of party funds.

It said 5 percent tickets must be awarded to women in line with the laws which call for equal representation of qualified men and women in the legislative bodies of Pakistan. Candidates have been instructed against damaging ballot papers or official documents during the elections.

The ECP has capped the elections expenses per National Assembly seat at Rs 4 million and Rs 2 million per provincial seat. To ensure further transparency, the electoral body has directed candidates to open exclusive accounts for this purpose in any bank across Pakistan so that their transactions can be monitored.

According to the code of conduct, candidates are required to submit a complete account of the expenses incurred during elections to ECP within 10 days of polling.

Political parties have been advised to refrain from influencing print or electronic media, or resorting to violence of any kind against news outlets.

Public display of firearms has been banned at meetings, processions and other activities related to the elections. The ban will remain in force until 24 hours after the consolidation of the results by the ECP.

The president, the caretaker cabinet and other government officials will not take part in election activity.

The code of conduct proposed for the general elections has prevented political parties from using funds from the public exchequer to run political campaigns in the print or electronic media.

The document states that party flags are also not allowed at public property or space, albeit under written agreement with local authorities or payment of fees, under which exceptions can be made. Parties and candidates are also required to refrain from printing religious verses on posters and advertisements.

The ECP has proposed a blanket ban on graffiti, hoardings and billboards.

Political parties and candidates have been told to inform district authorities about any planned processions or rallies. The ECP has also asked authorities to ensure this does not impact the smooth flow of traffic.

Car rallies have been prohibited, but corner meetings are allowed. A one-week notice is required to hold such gatherings, according to the document.

The ECP has barred political parties from holding more than one public meeting in a single constituency. The use of abusive language against opponents will be treated as a corrupt’ practice, ECP has warned.

Political leaders, local government officials and elected representatives have also been barred from inaugurating completed uplift projects or announcing new development works till elections have been held. Violations will be treated as illegal practices.

“On the polling day, there shall be a complete ban on all kinds of campaigns, canvassing, persuading voters for vote and soliciting vote within the radius of 400 meters of a polling station. Violation will be treated as an illegal practice,” reads a rule.

The ECP has advised political parties to educate voters on how to cast votes, but refrain from exhibiting notices, signs, banners or flags.

Later, talking to reporters, outgoing Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said the Election Commission is committed to holding elections on time. Saad Rafique said they have given proposals to the commission to make the elections transparent.

Responding to a question, Rana Sanaullah said PTI has demonstrated immaturity on nomination of caretaker Punjab chief minister.

He said PTI not only withdrew the name of Nasir Khosa but also carried out propaganda against him on social media.