ECP suspends Punjab govt’s Roshan Gharana Programme till July 17

Terms it an attempt to influence by-elections: CEC says vote on 20 Punjab Assembly seats will be transparent

By: News Desk
Published: 11:59 AM, 7 Jul, 2022
ECP suspends Punjab govt’s Roshan Gharana Programme till July 17
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While terming it an attempt to influence the upcoming by-elections on 20 seats of Punjab Assembly, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Thursday suspended the Punjab government’s Roshan Gharana Programme till July 17 next, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

On Monday last, Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz had announced Roshan Gharana Programme that envisioned the provision of subsidised electricity with up to 100 free units to the power consumers.

The ECP had summoned the Punjab chief minister on Thursday (today) for announcing Roshan Gharana Programme in Punjab, ahead of scheduled by-elections on 20 seats of Punjab Assembly on July 17, in alleged violation of the electoral code of conduct.

The Punjab chief minister, through a notice issued by ECP’s Deputy Director (Law) Saima Tariq Janjuha, on Tuesday, had been directed to appear in person or through his counsel at the ECP headquarters.

The lawyer for Hamza Shehbaz Thursday appeared before the ECP on his behalf and submitted the reply, maintaining that the programme announced by the Punjab chief minister did not mean for the by-election constituencies.

“The Punjab government’s Roshan Gharana Programme was announced in the budget,” the lawyer stated.

“If you make such announcements during the election campaign, it will be considered an attempt to influence the election,” said the ECP Sindh member.

“If we had any intention to influence the election, we would have never increased petrol prices,” said the lawyer for Hamza Shehbaz.

“But, increasing petrol prices is not the prerogative of the provincial government,” the ECP Sindh member said.

“If you had announced the programme in the budget, what was the need to announce it again?” the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) questioned.

“This programme has been announced for those consuming 50 and 100 units of electricity as inflation has increased,” said the lawyer for Hamza Shehbaz.

“The job of the election commission is to provide a level playing field to all parties. The announcement of the Punjab government’s programme is an attempt to influence the by-elections. There are only 10 days left in the by-elections; therefore, this programme should be stopped,” said the ECP director general (Law).

“The power consumers will benefit from the Punjab government’s programme in August,” the lawyer for Hamza Shehbaz informed the ECP.

“Our job is to provide a level playing field for all the parties. The ECP has suspended the Roshan Gharana Programme of the Punjab government till July 17. Any violation of the electoral code of conduct will be dealt with under the law. No development programme should be announced till by-elections,” said the CEC.

“The ECP rejects all the propaganda to make the by-elections controversial. The ECP has more support from the law-enforcement agencies than ever before. By-elections in 20 constituencies of Punjab will be transparent,” added he.

Reporter: Usman Khan