Muhammad Faheem

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has made it mandatory to get permission from the district administration two weeks before any political gathering while laying down the code of conduct for political gatherings across the province.

The security of political leaders and workers will be the responsibility of the respective political party while the security of the public will be entrusted to the police. More than one political party will not be able to hold a rally, or Jalsa at the same place at the same time. Apart from this, putting up any kind of banners, posters, or panaflex on government property has also been banned. Political gatherings will also not be allowed on roads, intersections, playgrounds, and walkways.

In the letter sent by the Interior Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the Inspector General of Police, Divisional Commissioners, Additional Inspector General Special Branch, Capital City Police Peshawar, all Deputy Commissioners, and all District Police Officers, it is stated that the rules for holding political meetings/jalsa of political parties. Ethical and security guidelines have been laid down which should be ensured in all cases.

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The post said that in view of the law and order situation in the province, the leadership of the political parties should be sensitive to adopting safety rules during their campaigns and gatherings to protect their leaders and workers. Every political party shall submit an application to the district administration for NOC for holding any political event.

It has also been said that any political activity in which political leadership or national-level personalities are invited will have to include a 15-day schedule. The application must also provide details of the venue selected for the activity, the time and the leadership list to participate, and the expected audience.

Similarly, the local leadership will submit an affidavit that no road or street will be blocked and no disturbance will be created in the flow of traffic to cause inconvenience to the public. The party or the candidate shall inform the district administration about the place and time and no meeting or event by different political parties shall be held on the same date, time, and place or at a place adjacent to the place of another party.

The letter said the permission would be subject to the approval of law enforcement agencies. Similarly, if any prohibitory order is in force at the place of the proposed meeting, all permits for holding meetings, corner meetings, or jalsa, etc. will be issued strictly by the Deputy Commissioners.

The tehsil administration in consultation with all stakeholders will identify 4 to 5 suitable places for the purpose of holding public gatherings after obtaining approval from the district administration and inform the political party. The district administration will then identify and notify two to three suitable places for public and political gatherings in consultation with all stakeholders, preferably to be used by political parties for political gatherings.

Corner meetings shall be held in closed premises as deemed appropriate by the party representatives. However, the information of all corner meetings will be shared with the district administration and local police station for providing necessary services and security. Political activities will not be allowed in the buildings of government, semi-government, autonomous institutions, playgrounds, intersections, roads, etc. All political parties will hold their political meetings in daylight.

No political gathering shall exceed the prescribed time. In case of non-compliance with the stipulated time, the responsibility for any accident will be placed on the leadership of the concerned political party. The use of loudspeakers will be permitted to the extent that there are large political gatherings.

No political party or candidate shall use loudspeakers in any public place or near places of worship, hospitals, public and educational institutions, etc. Hate speech, defamatory, derogatory language Hate speech shall not be made by any person or group. Any attempt to incite violence or resort to violence during rallies and processions will not be tolerated and strict administrative and legal action will be taken against violators.

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The post states that no person shall harm any person or property. Political leaders have been directed to refrain from making personal attacks on each other during speeches at rallies and other places and requested to inform their followers about men and women, political leaders, and workers of other political parties. Will strictly avoid and discourage the use of any inappropriate comments.

It has also been stated that no political party shall allow its followers to use the private property of any individual. The security of political leaders and workers will be their own responsibility. Levies in Malakand and police in the rest of the province will be responsible for the overall security of the people. No personal security will be given to individuals and politicians except those who have cases. Specially approved by provincial, divisional, and district-level committees.

Political leaders and activists may deploy uniformed private security. Guards who have validly licensed arms for their protection provided that the details of such guards and arms are registered with the RPOs of the concerned police stations. DC may be informed about all such security measures. Video recording of meetings, corner meetings, and rallies shall be the responsibility of the applicants and organizers of such events. They will provide the video recording to the concerned police station.

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