ECP directs officials to refrain from altering candidates’ electoral symbols

ECP electoral code of conduct

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) directed officials overseeing poll management on Tuesday to refrain from altering candidates’ electoral symbols, citing the ongoing printing of ballot papers.

This directive comes a day after both the PPP and PTI raised allegations against the electoral watchdog, accusing it of either denying or assigning incorrect symbols to their candidates.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari claimed on Monday that returning officers, allegedly under pressure from PML-N, had allotted incorrect symbols to his party’s candidates in Punjab. Bhutto-Zardari expressed his intention to bring the matter to the election commission and the courts, asserting that the PML-N sought to contest elections by sidelining its opponents, Dawn said.

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Similar concerns were voiced by PPP’s Punjab leader, Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed, who accused the ECP of making the upcoming polls controversial by denying the party’s electoral symbol to seven of its candidates.

Meanwhile, independent candidates affiliated with the PTI challenged the decision of returning officers, making the ECP, ROs, and DROs respondents in the petition.

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In a case before the Peshawar High Court, former federal minister Shehryar Afridi, contesting elections on NA-35 Kohat, petitioned against the allocation of the election symbol ‘bottle.’

In response to these issues, the ECP issued a statement today, urging ROs, DROs, and election officials to avoid changing symbols for poll aspirants. The electoral watchdog emphasized that, given the commencement of ballot paper printing, alterations to symbols may not be feasible without prior permission from the ECP.

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