Over 600 SIC leaders booked for holding public gathering in Chunian

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CHUNIAN
A first information report (FIR) has been lodged with multiple charges against 16 Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) leaders and 600 unknown workers for holding a public rally in Chunian ahead of NA-132 by-election in Kasur district.
The FIR mentioned that the SIC did not obtain no objection certificate (NOC) from the district administration for the gathering, where an attempt was made to “incite people through anti-state narrative”.
It alleged that the political leaders violated the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) code of conduct as well as Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
The FIR lodged at Khaddian police station under different sections of the Pakistan Penal Code also mentioned that they brandished weapons during the public event.
The case has been lodged against SIC 16 leaders including Sher Afzal Marwat and Sardar Muhammad Hussain Dogar and 600 other unidentified political activists.
Time for the election campaign for the by-elections going to be held from April 21 ended last midnight.
Prime Minister had won the February 8 general election on NA-132 seat, while Dogar had stood runner-up with a difference of more than 25,000 votes. The seat was vacated after Shehbaz decided to retain his NA-123 Lahore-VII seat.
The ECP, a day ago, issued a reminder to candidates, under Section 182 of the Election Act, 2017, regarding the electioneering deadline which it said expires by Friday midnight ahead of by-polls in 21 national and provincial assembly constituencies across Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), and Balochistan on Sunday April 21.
According to election regulations, campaigning ceased precisely at midnight between Friday and Saturday (April 19-20).
The top electoral body cautions that candidates engaging in political activities after the deadline will face legal consequences.
The aforementioned provision of the Election Act prohibits individuals from organising, attending, or participating in any public gatherings or processions within the constituency’s area for 48 hours after the polls close, until midnight.
The commission warned that violators of these regulations could face penalties, including imprisonment for up to two years, a fine of up to Rs100,000, or both.
In addition, the poll watchdog calls upon the media and the public to join efforts in ensuring a free, fair, and transparent election process.
Earlier this month, a notification was issued by the poll organising authority regarding the organisation of by-elections in a total of 23 constituencies, including six NA, 12 Punjab Assembly, two KP Assembly, two Balochistan Assembly, and one Sindh Assembly constituencies.
A total of 239 candidates are going to participate in the forthcoming by-elections, including 50 contenders for NA seats, of which Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari was elected unopposed in the NA-207 constituency.
Another PPP leader Zubair Ahmed Junejo was also elected without facing any contest on the PS-80 Dadu seat.
Subsequently, 23 candidates were contesting by-polls for KP Assembly seats, 154 candidates for Punjab Assembly seats, and 12 candidates for Balochistan Assembly seats.