ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday warned Punjab Food Minister Bilal Yaseen that he may be disqualified from the membership of the provincial assembly if found violating its code of conduct for the by-election in the NA-120 Lahore constituency.
A two-member bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner retired Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza, heard the complaint against the provincial minister for allegedly violating the ECP’s code of conduct.
Fuming at the absence of Yasin, the bench warned him that it would issue a show-cause notice to the minister for his disqualification if he found violating the code of conduct. It directed him to submit his reply until Sept 07.
Earlier, the ECP had issued notices to retired Capt Muhammad Safdar, Bilal Yasin, Pervaiz Malik, Majid Zahoor for allegedly using government machinery in violation of the code of conduct during election campaign for Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, the PML-N’s candidate for the NA-120.
In its code of conduct, the ECP had restrained the PML-N leaders in federal and provincial governments from using state resources for rallying support for the party candidate.
It had warned that if any person found misusing his official position in any manner to influence the result of the election, he/she might be tried by a sessions court as contemplated under Section 95 of the Representation of the People Act (ROPA) 1976, and if proved guilty, he/she could face a jail term up to two years.
The NA-120 seat fell vacant after the disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif by the apex court.
It should be recalled here that a five-judge bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan on July 28 announced a landmark judgment in Panamagate case, disqualifying Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister.
Soon after the SC judgement, the PM House issued a terse statement saying that Nawaz Sharif, despite having reservations on the court verdict, has stepped down from his post as the premier.
Sharif served as prime minister twice in the 1990s before he was ousted in a 1999 coup leading to a decade of exile. He won a third term as prime minister in a 2013 election.