LAHORE - The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued the modified code of conduct for political parties, candidates contesting the election and election agents, making it clear that strict action would be taken if anybody tries to indulge in violence, incite violence or put hurdles in the way of free and fair elections.

According to a notification issued by the ECP, the Code of Conduct consisting of 10 points says the political parties, candidates and election agents should uphold the rights and freedom of people of Pakistan as guaranteed by the Constitution and law.

The Commission said that political parties, candidates and election agents would not propagate any opinion, or act in any manner prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan, or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan, or morality or public order, or the integrity or independence of the judiciary of Pakistan or which defames or brings into ridicule the judiciary or the armed forces of Pakistan.

According to the ECP, all stakeholders would be bound to abide by directions of the ECP that would be issued time to time relating to smooth conduct of elections, maintenance of public order and morality and refrain from maligning the ECP in any form whatsoever, violation whereof would entail contempt as contemplated in Section 10 of the Election Act 2017.

The election commission, through its Code of Conduct, directed the political parties, contesting candidates and election agents as well as their supporters or other persons not to encourage or enter into formal or informal agreement/arrangements, understanding debarring men, women and transgender from becoming candidate for an election or exercising their right of vote in an election.

The political parties, according to the Code of Conduct, would emphasize and encourage women participation in election process, with directions to the contesting candidates and election agents to dissuade their workers and sympathizers from destroying any ballot paper or any official mark on the ballot paper.

The Commission said violation of the Code of Conduct would be treated as corrupt practice.  The Commission also barred the candidates, election agents and their supporters from soliciting the support or assistance of any person in the service of Pakistan or a province or semi-government institution or any public office to promote or hinder election of a contesting candidate in any manner.