ISLAMABAD  -  Barring the top government functionaries and parliamentary dignitaries from visiting the respective electoral constituencies while overlooking to address the key issues such as display and use of arms during the polls, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued the Code of Conduct for the August 22 by-elections in 42 constituencies.According to the 31-point Code of Conduct issued Wednesday, which stands effective from June 28, 2013, the president, prime minister, chairman/deputy chairman Senate, federal ministers, ministers of state, governors, chief ministers, provincial ministers and advisors to the prime minister and chief ministers shall not visit any constituency or announce development projects therein. However, the code apparently overlooks specifically mentioning the portfolios of the speakers and deputy speakers of the National Assembly and all the four provincial assemblies in this regard. Instead of specifying these slots to bar them from visiting electoral constituencies, the Code of Conduct simply says that 'other' public office holders will (also) not visit the said areas.Also, the Code of Conduct apparently fails to call into account the practice of unlawful/unauthorised display and use of weapons by certain election contestants during their election campaigns in the form of aerial firing or other highhanded methods. Again, instead of particularly banning the same, the ECP remains silent on the matter in its Wednesday guidelines.The commission had banned the unlawful/unauthorised display and use of weapons during the general elections 2013 and lifted the said ban after the conduct of May 11 polls.  Since then, no fresh instructions, till date, have been issued to ban the use of the same during the by-elections in the 42 electoral constituencies despite that the schedule for these polls had been announced on June 28. The by-polls Code of Conduct only makes a generalised statement to ask the candidates to follow the general elections 2013 code.Although, the code cites Article 218 (3) of the Constitution of Pakistan to justify ECP exclusive authority for the conduct of free and fair elections, the electoral body appears to have failed to increase the electoral expenditure limit for the NA and provincial assemblies while exercising its powers in the light of the same article. Like the general elections, the election expenses limit for the NA has been fixed at 15,00,000 rupees and Rs 10,00,000 for the provincial assembly contestants, in the by-polls guidelines. Last year, the ECP had recommended increasing these limits up to five and three million rupees respectively but the said proposal required legislation, not done by the previous Parliament. In the wake of the Parliament's non-compliance, the ECP was mandated to have its proposal on the electoral expenditure limits materialised in exercise of its powers under Article 218 (3) as well as Section 107 of The Representation of the People Act (RoPA) 1976, which authorises the ECP to make rules with the president's approval. This section states, "The commission may, with the approval of the president, make rules for carrying out the purposes of this act."Article 218 (3) states, "It shall be the duty of the election commission to organise and conduct the elections and to make such arrangements as are necessary to ensure that the election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with law, and that corrupt practices are guarded against."Moreover, the Code of Conduct bars the poll contestants to transport the voters to and from the polling stations except their "immediate family members." It bans the use of loudspeakers in the election campaigns  "except at the election meetings," and bans the establishment of polling stations by the political parties on the polling day. The code also details certain prescribed sizes for hoardings, banners and posters for the election campaigns.The poll authority has also authorised first class magistracy powers to the district returning officers and returning officers supervising the by-elections.The ECP on Friday had issued the official schedule for August 22 by-elections on the 42 general seats comprising of 26 provincial assemblies and 16 National Assembly seats. As many as 27 of those seats where by-elections would be held were vacated by the lawmakers winning additional (more than one) seats while 11 seats had fallen vacant due to the deaths of the elected representatives concerned. The by-polls on the remaining four seats would be held in the wake of disqualification of the respective candidates on two general seats and nullification of the poll results on as many seats.