RE - With miraculous entry of Nawaz Sharif in bye-elections and Shabaz's confirmation as new Chief Minister of Punjab, PML-N has started painting the city walls with large size pictures of Sharif brothers as part of the upcoming by-election campaign in violation of election code of ethics.
Aggressive wall chalking can be witnessed in National Assembly constituency, NA-123 from where PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif is contesting election. Here, the walls have been painted with welcome remarks, party slogans and pictures of Nawaz Sharif. A few walls, especially the Ghari Shaho bridge are also depicting the name of Mian Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman, who is also contesting bye-elections from PP-141.
Concerned citizens are not happy the way City walls are being defaced for election campaign. "This not only spoils the beauty of buildings but also projects a wrong image of Pakistani nation at the world level", said Shoaib, a resident of Grahi Shahu. In the past, however, PML-N had been criticising the PML-Q and other parties for doing wall chalking terming it a sheer violation of the code of ethics issued by Election Commission of Pakistan. "But now it is challenging the said rules by substantiating the fact that "might is right ", observed anther citizen in NA-123. As the elections are drawing closer, the wall chalking by PML-N supporters is increasing day by day.
This practice in itself has been banned under the "Punjab Prohibition of Expressing Matters on Walls Act 1995", but enforcement mechanism seems to have totally failed, as there is virtually no check on this illegal practice even when there is no election euphoria.
According to the Punjab Prohibition of Expressing Matters on Walls Act 1995, "Whoever affixes or causes to be affixed any poster, bill, notice, placed or other paper or means of advertisement on a wall or writes on any wall with chalk or paint or in any other manner whatsoever or expresses or describes any matter on any wall in any manner whatsoever with the intention to attract public attention to that matter shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to Rs 5,000 or with both. And within a period of thirty days from the commencement of this act every local council shall cause to be removed all matters expressed on the walls within its jurisdiction the expression of which is prohibited by this Act."
A relevant provision of election code of conduct issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan states, "No person or political party shall affix hoardings, posters or banners of any size or cause wall chalking as a part of election campaign of a candidate other than the following, no person or political party shall affix hoarding, poster or banners larger than the size mentioned as Hoardings 3ft x 5ft, Banners 3ftx 8ft, Posters 1ft x 1.5 ft."
Graffiti is not a new phenomenon on the walls but none of authorities concerned are ready to take responsibility for their removal. Graffiti has become common feature of our society that casts negative impact not only on the beauty of the city but also on visitors particularly foreigners. It comes in all shapes and can be seen on walls, buildings, signboards, bus stops and recreational places.