LAHORE - A good number of activists belonging to the Pakistan People’s Party-Workers on Thursday staged a protest demonstration in front of the Election Commission office against alleged violation of the code of conduct and non-verification of more than 29,000 votes in the NA-120 constituency.

The PPP-W leadership demanded resignations from all members of the Election Commission for their failure to perform their duties and said the commission seemed to have failed to conduct free and fair by-polls in NA-120. The party leaders said it was useless to expect this “incompetent” election commission would hold the next general elections in a transparent way.

Naheed Khan, former adviser to the slain PPP chairwoman Benazir Bhutto, PPP-W President Dr Safdar Abbasi, party candidate in the NA-120 by-polls Sajida Mir and a large number of party workers gathered in front of the ECP office and raised slogans against the favours, which they were allegedly extending to the ruling party candidate Kalsoom Nawaz, spouse of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Talking to the media, Naheed Khan and Dr Safdar Abbasi said the election commission had terribly failed to make the political parties follow the election code of conduct and this failure on part of the election commission had raised questions about commission’s performance and existence.

They said that ruling party’s ministers were using all the available government resources and administrative machinery to maneuver the results in the favor of their candidate and conducting rallies in violation of the code of conduct of the election commission. They said that in such circumstances it was now inevitable that all the ECP members step down and all political and religious parties in and outside the parliament should set up a new election commission, which will be independent and powerful.

They said they had serious concerns about non-verification of 29,000 votes in the NA-120 constituency but the election commission was not taking this issue seriously.

Former MPA and candidate for the National Assembly seat in NA-120 Sajida Mir said the election commission fixed the limits of expenditure up to Rs1.5 million during election campaign, but ruling party ministers, MNAs and MPAs were spending millions of rupees. She said her only asset was her democratic ideology and it was the duty of the election commission to provide a fair opportunity to every candidate to contest elections.