Use of State Resources for Political Campaigns

Government Offices Must be free of Political Campaign Material

FAFEN Releases Pre-Election Update II on Use of Government Buildings for Political Campaigning

ISLAMABAD, February 16, 2013: The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) had the highest incidence of campaign materials being posted at public buildings between February 1 and 7, 2013. These observations were made by the Free and Fair Election Network’s (FAFEN) District Long-Term Observers (DLTOs) in 14 districts of Sindh and Punjab.

The campaign materials included party banners, wall chalking, posters and stickers pasted on the premises of public offices.  FAFEN observers saw PPPP posters, graffiti and stickers at 17 public offices and campaign materials of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) at five.

In addition, seven other parties – Pakistan Peoples Party (Shaheed Bhutto), Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan Awami Tehreek, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Sindh Taraqqi Pasand Party and Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (Patriots) also had their campaign material at public places.  Moreover, FAFEN observers reported a government servant stationed in an office of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl in Mastung, Balochistan.

Most of the campaign materials were found at the offices of Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and District Coordination Officers (DCOs), followed by those of Executive District Officers (EDOs) Education. The fewest materials were seen outside the offices of electric supply companies, National Database and Registration Authority and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited/Sui Southern Gas Company.

Across 14 districts, FAFEN observers found party stickers pasted at 13 offices and posters up at nine. They saw wall chalking at eight offices and banners of political parties at four. The reporting districts included Karachi East, Karachi West, Jamshoro, Sukkur, Larkana, Matiari, Thatta, Badin, Ghotki, Shaheed Benazirabad, Malir and Hyderabad in Sindh, and Narowal and Sialkot in Punjab.

FAFEN has deployed 130 DLTOs across the country as part of its election observation program.  DLTOs are monitoring both the pre-election and post-election environment in every district of Pakistan.  FAFEN’s Constituency Long-Term Observers will observe the two-month official political campaign period in all National Assembly constituencies.

FAFEN recommends that the district administrations acknowledge the partiality involved in allowing parties to use public offices for politicking, get a mechanism in place to monitor public offices across the district and get parties on board with the idea and ensure that public offices remain free of party campaign materials.