ISLAMABAD - Deputy Speaker National Assembly Javed Abbasi had to go through a nerve-testing exercise on Thursday after Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) grilled him for boosting election campaign in his constituency by violating code of conduct.

The deputy speaker of the lower house was summoned by the ECP on Thursday after a complaint was filed by rival candidates accusing Abbasi of inaugurating development schemes in violation of the codes of conducts set by the commission that bars lawmakers from participating in polls campaign once schedule is announced.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retired) Sardar Raza Khan after playing the audio recording of Abbasi in which he had campaigned for his choice candidates in his constituency, rejected the arguments of the deputy speaker asking him to appear in ECP on May 20 for further hearing.

Abbasi’s plea that under section 13 of Representative of Peoples’ Act (ROPA), he can inaugurate ongoing schemes was rejected by the CEC who reminded that the deputy speaker that ECP had summoned him (Abbasi) under section 26 of ROPA that bars lawmakers from visiting his areas once schedule for by-election is announced.

“I tender apology to the ECP as I was not aware of section 26 of ROPA and I pledge that I would not take part in any campaign again once the schedule is announced,” said the deputy speaker National Assembly.

“You have to appear on May 20 and submit a written reply along with an affidavit,” CEC Justice (retired) Raza Khan directed Abbasi during a hearing in ECP on Thursday.

“ECP is being blamed for all the misdeeds committed by politicians. I will not tolerate if codes of conduct are violated by politicians next time,” the CEC added.

Orangzaib Khan, the contestant of LG polls, had filed a petition with the ECP against the deputy speaker and another MPA from KP. The petitioner had alleged that the deputy speaker, elected as an MNA from Abbottabad, and Sardar Aurangzaib Khan MPA from PK-47, were running election campaigns for PML-N candidates in violation of the rules.

As per ECP’s code of conduct, president, prime minister, chief ministers, federal and provincial ministers, and the speaker and deputy speaker of both national and provincial assemblies cannot take part in election campaigns in any by-polls or LG polls.

Meanwhile, taking up another complaint, the ECP reprimanded Chief Secretary KP for releasing Rs80 million for development schemes in Mardan in violation of codes of conduct.

The complaint had been filed by a local ANP activist from Mardan against the PTI-led KP government

Chief Secretary KP Amjad Ali Khan in an effort to exonerate himself from the charge, tried to justify the release of funds saying the money would lapse at the start of next financial year in July if not spent.

The ECP rejected his stance saying the provincial government should have utilized the money before the schedule for LG polls was announced adding that once the election schedule has been announced, launching of a new development scheme or releasing money is a blatant  violation of the code of conduct.

The chief secretary had nothing to argue in his defence except tendering an apology.