LAHORE - As candidates of various political parties have geared up their election campaigns in the city, the District Administration of Lahore has launched an aggressive campaign to remove political banners, flyers and posters from the streets and main roads and clear the walls covered with political graffiti.

The district administration has launched this campaign in line with instructions of the Punjab government to check violation of the Election Commission Code of Conduct.

Flags of various political parties can be seen waving on street poles and overhead bridges in the city.

District administration’s teams have removed a large number of unapproved size banners, steamers, handbills and portraits from the main entry and exit points of the city, including main roads like Jail Road, The Mall, Shalimar Link Road, Tajpura, Allama Iqbal Road, Bund road , BoR Society, Allah Hu Chowk, Shok Chowk, Johar Town and other areas.

According to the ECP code of conduct and its sub clause 25, “In no case, the political parties, contesting candidates, election agents or their supporters shall affix posters on walls or any building”. “There shall be a complete ban on hoardings, billboards, wall chalking and panaflexes of any size. Violation will be treated as an illegal practice and in no case the picture of government official shall be printed on any publicity material by any political party/candidate/ election agent,” according to the code of conduct.  Deputy Commissioner of Lahore Anwarul Haq said that special teams were constituted zone wise and each team was led by Zonal Officer Regulation along with staff which ensured removal of unapproved size banners, steamers and pamphlets from assigned jurisdiction.

Special teams of the district administration removed large size posters, banners, steamers, handbills and pamphlets, except those whose sizes were up to the standard and in accordance with the publicity policy of the Election Commission of Pakistan on Saturday late night and on Sunday.

The DC said the process of monitoring and enforcement was going side by side in all national and provincial constituencies of the provincial capital.

It has been ensured that only those banners, steamers, handbills and portraits should be removed whose sizes were in violation of the code of conduct of the Election Commission of Pakistan.  Commenting on impartiality of the operation, the DC said it is “totally impartial and indiscriminate”.

Similarly, monitoring officers of national and provincial constituencies deputed by the Election Commission of Pakistan made field visits and observed political activities and violations in their jurisdictions. They reported these violations to the deputy commissioner who is also notified as the district monitoring officer in Lahore.

The DC has directed all enforcement teams to be vigilant in the field and take stern action if any violation is found.

“In the first phase, the already hanging outsize banners, steamers and handbills were removed and in the second phase it will be ensured that no candidate should try to install any outsize publicity item in any part of the city,” Anwarul Haq added.

Special teams of the DC Office checked the printing and publishing presses and ensured that no printing and publishing press should print any publicity item without its name and more than the approved size of the Election Commission of Pakistan.

The DC affirmed that the operation will continue till 25 July and teams will be in the field round the clock.

It is pertinent to mention here that the election commissioner of Lahore has approved sizes of publicity items as poster (18 inches into 23 inches), hand bill/pamphlets/leaflets (9 inches into 6 inches), banners (3 feet into 9 feet) and portraits (2 feet into 3 feet).