PHC questions why PTI not being given level playing field

  • Notes appointment of caretaker ministers now actively participating in electioneering
  • KP CS, ECP assure equal opportunities would be provided to all parties

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday inquired from the KP Chief Secretary and the Election Commission why PTI rallies were being targeted, while other parties were allowed to hold meetings without restrictions.

A two-judge bench of the Peshawar High Court made the observation during hearing of contempt of court proceedings regarding the alleged restriction on PTI rallies.

As the proceedings began, Justice Ijaz Anwar expressed concern over the unequal treatment of political parties.

He pointed out that a crackdown was initiated whenever PTI attempted to organize a meeting, while other parties faced no such hurdle. He questioned the rationale behind this disparity, asking if there was a specific ban on PTI’s political activities.

In response, the KP Chief Secretary assured the court that equal opportunities would be provided to all parties. He explained that while PTI’s workers’ convention was allowed to proceed due to compliance with SOPs and placement, ANP and JUI were denied permission for failing to adhere to the guidelines.

Justice SM Atiq Shah noted that without the court’s intervention, the permission for rallies was often denied. Justice Anwar further questioned the Election Commission, asking if their sole responsibility was conducting elections. He expressed concern that despite reports of targeted actions against a specific party, the district officers remained silent.

The court also noted the appointment of caretaker ministers who were now actively participating in the elections, raising concerns about potential bias. The Election Commission lawyer assured the court that they would take action against any violation of the law, including those involving the caretaker ministers.

Justice Anwar emphasized the importance of ensuring a level playing field for all parties, urging both the Chief Secretary and the Election Commission to address any requests for rallies with this principle in mind. He stressed that the concerns raised in national and international media regarding unequal treatment needed to be addressed by the Election Commission.

Following the assurances of the Chief Secretary regarding providing a level playing field, the court disposed of the contempt petition.

 

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