Pakistani candidates told not seek votes in name of religion

April 15, 2013 at 6:29 AM
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ISLAMABAD, April 15 (UPI) -- Pakistan's Election Commission says candidates in next month's general elections cannot seek vote in the name of religion, caste or sex.

A commission official in Islamabad said political parties, candidates and their supporters shouldn't stir up parochial and sectarian emotions or speak against gender, community or linguistic groups, Dawn newspaper reported.

The civilian coalition government, led by President Asif Ali Zardari's Pakistan People's Party, for the first time in Pakistan's history completed a full 5-year term last month.

Pakistanis are preparing to pick their next government in the May 11 elections, a milestone that would mark the first such democratic power transition in a country that has been intermittently under military rule for decades since independence in 1947.

In its guidelines, the Election Commission said political parties and candidates must uphold people's rights and freedom guaranteed in the constitution.

Candidates also were told not to indulge in activities that would be deemed offenses under the election laws. Those action include bribing voters, intimidation and impersonation and campaigning within 400 yards of polling stations.

Carrying and displaying weapons in public meetings and processions on Election Day are also banned.

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