ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday issued a 49-point code of conduct for general elections, strictly cautioning the contestants to abide by rules and regulations or face disqualification. “Only talks are not enough to keep the contestants in limits. Strict action would be taken on violation of the code of conduct,” Chief Election Commissioner Justice (r) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim warned, as the code was adopted at a meeting of the Commission he chaired. The meeting was attended by the four provincial election commissioners and other officials of the EC. The meeting discussed the petition filed by Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan pertaining to the election in South Waziristan. The Election Commission also decided to double the remuneration of the polling staff.The code of conduct restricts political parties and candidates from propagating any opinion, or act in any manner prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan, or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan.It further restricts them from propagating anything prejudicial to morality, or the maintenance of public order, or the integrity or independence of the judiciary or which defames or brings into ridicule the judiciary or the Armed Forces of Pakistan, as provided under Article 63 of the Constitution. The parties and candidates shall abide by all the laws, rules, regulations and directions issued by the Commission, from time to time, relating to smooth conduct of elections and the maintenance of public order.The political parties and candidates shall at all times uphold the rights and freedom of the people as guaranteed by the Constitution and law.All the political parties, candidates and their supporters shall avoid scrupulously all activities, which are offences under the election laws, such as bribing of voters, intimidation, canvassing within 400 yards of a polling station, including setting up of camps and holding public meetings during 48 hours ending at midnight following the conclusion of poll for an election in the constituency.The Code of Conduct also restricts the parties, the candidates and their supporters from inciting violence or resorting to violence during meetings, processions, or during polling hours. They shall publicly condemn violence and intimidation and do not use language that might lead to violence or resort to violence during meetings, processions, or during polling hours. Moreover, no person shall in any manner cause injury to any person or damage to any property. Political parties, contesting candidates and their supporters shall not procure the support or assistance of any civil servant to promote or hinder the election of a contesting candidate. Political parties and contesting candidates shall dissuade their workers or sympathizers from destroying any ballot paper or any official mark on the ballot paper. Furthermore, no person or political party or a contesting candidate and their supporters shall hoist or fix party flags on any public property or at any public place, except with the permission in writing from, and on payment of such fee or charges as may be chargeable by the concerned local government or authorities.Wall chalking as part of an election campaign shall be prohibited in all forms while no person or a political party shall affix posters, hoardings, banners or leaflets/ handbills larger than the sizes prescribed by the Commission. The poster size will be (2-feet x 3-feet) with the hoardings size (3-feet x 5-feet) and the banners size (3-feet x 9-feet).The head of district administration and the District Returning Officer shall be responsible for the effective implementation of this provision as the Commission has directed the political parties, contesting candidates and their supporters not to indulge in offering gifts or gratifications or inducement to any person to stand or not to stand as a candidate, or to withdraw or not to withdraw his candidature.The Commission has further directed that political parties, contesting candidates and their supporters may announce their overall development programme, but after the announcement of the election schedule till the day of polling, no candidate or any person on his behalf shall openly or in secret, give any subscription or donation, or make promise for giving such subscription or donation, to any institution of their respective constituency or to any other institution, nor shall commit to undertake any development project in the respective constituency.The political parties contesting candidates and their supporters shall refrain from speeches calculated to arouse parochial and sectarian feelings and controversy of conflicts between genders, sects, communities and linguistic groups.They have also been asked to refrain from deliberate dissemination of false and malicious information. The workers of political parties shall not indulge in forgeries and disinformation to defame other political parties/leaders while the use of abusive language against the leaders and candidates of other political parties shall be avoided at all costs.Political parties contesting candidates and their supporters shall not use any vehicle to transport to or from the polling station any elector except himself and members of his immediate family and shall not propagate against the participation of any person in the elections on the basis of gender, ethnicity, religion or caste.The political parties contesting candidates and their supporters or other persons shall not encourage or enter into formal or informal agreements debarring women from becoming candidates or exercising their right of vote in an election.Canvassing for votes, soliciting of votes, persuading any elector not to vote at the election or for a particular candidate, or exhibiting any notice, sign, banner or flag designed to encourage the electors to vote or discourage the electors from voting for any contesting candidate will be prohibited within a radius of 400 yards of the polling station.It has been directed that no transaction for election expenses shall be made through an account other than the account opened for the purpose and all transactions relating to the election expenses shall be entered with GST registered firms.The Commission has cautioned that violation of these provisions amounts either to corrupt practice or illegal practice, which are punishable under the law as it expected all necessary help from the parties, candidates and supporters to law- enforcement agencies for ensuring safety and security of election materials, election officials and polling agents on polling day.The political parties shall endeavour to provide equal opportunity to its qualified members both men and women to participate in electoral process none among them shall permit its candidates or followers to make use of any individuals land, building, compound wall etc. without his permission for erecting flag-staffs, suspending banners, pasting notices and writing slogans.Issuance of advertisement at the cost of public exchequer in newspapers and other media and misuse of official mass media during election period for partisan coverage of political news and publicity shall be avoided by the federal, provincial and local governments.Moreover, criticism of other political parties and opponent candidates shall be confined to their policies and programmes, past record and work. Parties and candidates shall refrain from criticism of any aspect of private life, not connected with the public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties. Criticism based on unverified allegations distortion of facts shall be avoided.The right of every individual for peaceful and undisturbed domestic life shall be respected, irrespective of any resentment that a political party or a candidate may have against such individual for his political opinion or activities. Organizing demonstrations or picketing before the house of such individual with a view to protest against his political opinion or activities shall be prohibited under any circumstances.The Commission has directed that political parties and candidates shall firmly restrain their workers from exerting undue pressure against the print and electronic media, including newspaper offices and printing presses, or resorting to violence of any kind against the media.There will be a complete ban on carriage and display of all kinds of weapons and fire arms in public meetings and processions as well as on the polling day and till 24-hours after the consolidation of official results by the Returning Officer and official regulations in respect thereof shall be strictly observed. Aerial firing, use of crackers and other explosives at public meetings and at or near the polling stations by the political parties and candidates shall not be allowed.The Commission has mentioned that the President, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker National Assembly, the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Senate, the Prime Minister, Federal Ministers, Ministers of State, Governors, Chief Ministers, Provincial Ministers and Advisors to the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers and other public office holders shall not combine their official visits with election campaign.