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Election Update – 25th April, 2013

15,629 in race for 849 general seats A total number of 15,629 candidates are contesting the general elections for the National and Provincial Assemblies on 849 general seats while 1,063 candidates are eyeing reserved seats comprising of women and minorities, according to the ECP’s latest data. < Read More – http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/editors-picks/25-Apr-2013/15-629-candidates-in-race-for-849-general-seats >   Blasts rattle 3 provinces in 24 hours Another explosion rocked Quetta Wednesday evening, the ninth blast in three different provinces of Pakistan in the last 24 hours, raising fears for deteriorating law and order as the historic May 11 polls draw nearer. At least two people were injured in the latest attack on Jan Muhammad road area of Quetta, the capital of volatile Balochistan province on Wednesday, police said. < Read More – http://dawn.com/2013/04/24/eight-blasts-rattle-three-provinces-in-less-than-24-hours/ >   PTI to hold local government elections after 90 days To … Read entire article »

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Boston Bombing

Prof Farakh A Khan: Two Improvised Explosive Devises (IED) exploded (15.4.13) at the finishing line of Boston Marathon a prestigious event for the Americans killing three and injuring more than 170 innocent people. Although the two young people from Chechnya have been implicated the motive is far from clear. So far the world is looking at this incidence from humanitarian and tactical angles. I am going to look into the historical aspect of war, which will throw some light on the future of wars. Humans developed stone knife, axe and the spear to hunt and stay alive during the Stone Age. Soon bow and arrow was invented and spread to all corners of the world. These also became tools of war with neighbouring groups. Then came the invention of bronze implements especially the sword … Read entire article »

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Election Update – 24th April, 2013

• ECP fails to prevent 55 persons charged with terrorism from contesting elections The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has simply failed to prevent 55 candidates from the Punjab, belonging to 10 different sectarian groups, from contesting the general elections despite the fact that intelligence agencies had warned the ECP that they were on terrorist lists and had provided all the names. These names are also listed on the 4th Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 for their alleged involvement in terrorist activities. According to well-informed sources in the Ministry of Interior, the intelligence agencies had provided to the ECP a complete list of 55 candidates who had filed their nomination papers to contest the national and provincial assemblies’ polls from 20 districts of the Punjab. • Surge in electoral violence kills 23: FAFEN • Most … Read entire article »

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Election Update – 23rd April, 2013

Caretaker government refuses to try Musharraf, says trial beyond mandate The caretaker government on Monday flatly refused to initiate treason trial of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, telling the Supreme Court that it was beyond its mandate to take any ‘controversial’ step that is ‘irreversible’.In a statement read out before a three-judge bench, the interim administration noted that less than three weeks were left to the elections, and overseeing the vote was a full-time job, given the threat level against candidates. < Read More – http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/23-Apr-2013/caretakers-refuse-to-try-musharraf >   Ahmadis to boycott upcoming elections Some 200,000 members of Pakistan’s minority Ahmadi community will boycott next month’s election in protest at their treatment by the authorities, a spokesman said Monday.  It is against the law for Ahmadis to call themselves Muslims, but they still see themselves as … Read entire article »

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Election Update – 22nd April, 2013

Expired CNICs can be used for casting votes The ECP has allowed people having expired Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) to cast their votes in the upcoming election.The ECP has taken some revolutionary steps to attract the people towards casting their votes and to ensure free and fair election. < Read More – http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/22-Apr-2013/expired-cnic-can-be-used-for-casting-vote-ecp >   ‘Pindi Commissioner directs administration to prepare for transparent, impartial elections Commissioner Rawalpindi Division Khalid Masood Ch. has directed all District Coordination Officers (DCOs) and District Police Officers (DPOs) of the division to take speedy steps to ensure transparent and impartial elections in the light of instructions of the ECP. He said that integrated coordination is to be ensured among all departments of the local administration and all available resources be utilized to discharge duties on the polling day. According … Read entire article »

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Election Update – 21st April, 2013

No significant rise in female candidates contesting on general seats of the NA Despite the welcome addition of a woman candidate contesting independently from Bajaur Agency, the overall number of women candidates contesting on general seats of the National Assembly (NA) has stayed much the same since the 2002 election.Even in the ranks of mainstream political parties which champion equal rights and participation of women, the number of women candidates contesting in the upcoming general elections has remained unchanged or, worse still, gone down. According to details of candidates filed by eight mainstream political parties, there is no significant increase in the number of women candidates in the 2002, 2008 and 2013 elections.Moreover, the two main religious parties — JamiatUlema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) — have maintained their tradition of totally … Read entire article »

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Election Update – 20th April, 2013

Musharraf given judicial remand by ATC The anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Saturday remanded former president Pervez Musharraf in custody for two weeks as judges pushed ahead with plans to put the former army chief on trial for a crackdown on the judiciary during his time in office.  Hundreds of lawyers jeered at Musharraf and scuffled with his supporters as he appeared at the Islamabad court a day after police arrested him at his home — a breach with an unwritten rule in Pakistan that ex-generals are above the law.  The judge ruled that he be detained until his next court appearance on May 4. Musharraf’s spokesman said authorities had decided that he would be placed under house arrest at his farmhouse residence on the edge of Islamabad. < Read More – http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013%5C04%5C21%5Cstory_21-4-2013_pg1_1 … Read entire article »

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Election Update – 19th April, 2013

Progress on voting rights for Overseas Pakistanis After putting up an apparent resistance to provision of online voting facility to the overseas Pakistanis, the Election Commission of Pakistan has finally showed some willingness for including the expats in the voting process, through issuance of a presidential ordinance, expected by next Sunday. Besides, the commission is to hold a meeting with the top administrative officials of the federal and provincial governments on the law and order situation and security measures to be taken accordingly.  Following a meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retired) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim on Thursday, the issuance of the presidential ordinance came under discussion leading toward an affirmative decision likely by April 21, the relevant deadline given by the Supreme Court. According to … Read entire article »

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Chairman Press Council of India Justice Markandey Katju’s Hindutvist Akhand Bharat Theory : Right out of the RSS manual

By Yasser Latif Hamdani I have always had the greatest respect for the superior judiciary of India. This is why it is a painful to write this post especially as it is about a gentleman who was Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court and later a Supreme Court Justice.  His very accurate view on the tussle between the judiciary and the executive in Pakistan had made me a fan. Unfortunately though I have now realized that even some great men of law have their blind spots and as far blind spots go, this gentlemen has a huge black big blind spot spanning Afghanistan to Burma.  … Read entire article »

Filed under: Afghanistan, India, Pakistan

Election Update – 18th April, 2013

First transgender election candidate ever in Pakistan For the first time in Pakistan’s history, transgender people are running as candidates. The development marks a sign of progress for transgender people in this conservative country, where they have long been met by abuse.BindiyaRana has always been active in her community and works at an organisation that helps promote the rights of transgender people as well as street children and other social issues. But she decided to run for office as well after a Supreme Court ruling in 2011 allowed members of the transgender community to get national identity cards recognising them as a separate identity — neither male or female — and allowing them to vote. She’s vying for a provincial assembly seat in the May 11 national elections. < Read More … Read entire article »

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Election Update – 17th April, 2013

ECP warns candidates against seeking votes on religion or ethnic grounds The ECP has announced that candidates who seek votes on the basis of religion or ethnicity will be sentenced to three years in prison. The ECP, in a communiqué issued on Wednesday, said that prison terms would also be handed to candidates who use bribery as a means to gain votes. “Three-year jail terms will also be awarded for casting fake votes and stopping others from voting.” It said that transporting individuals to polling stations other than family members is also prohibited, and candidates who violated these instruction would also be awarded three-year jail terms. Presiding officers have been given on-the-spot authority to take action against those violating these laws. Moreover, on the polling day, police can make arrests with … Read entire article »

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Soft states and hard power

By Saad Hafiz: Pakistan is categorised as a ‘soft’ state, exhibiting symptoms of an advanced level of administrative breakdown. Under these conditions the executive functions of the state, namely policing, taxation and general administration, are performed poorly or not at all. In spite of having clearly defined territorial boundaries including land, sea and airspace, soft states tend to lose full control of their territory and suffer regular infringements of sovereignty. A soft state may contain elements of ‘soft’ power such as an attractive culture, political values, and policies, which give it the ability to ‘seduce’ (as opposed to coerce) other parties. In contrast to being a soft state, Pakistan’s ranking as a ‘hard’ power is 13th of 193 countries based primarily on total population and military prowess. A country’s hard power is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Pakistan

Bringing Change

By Kashif Ali   During the election campaign, the favorite most mantra of every politician seems to be: “bring change”. This mantra is international in its appeal and you can use it anywhere in the world.  You can be a new and emerging leader, or an old one, you just have to use this statement to fool the public. But does simple repeating the mantra really bring the purported change? NO!! is my answer. You choose yours. I would like to share a personal experience. During my lunch with Warren Buffett, I asked him a very important question: “Buffett, if you have to change Pakistan, what would you do?” He looked at me for few minutes, laughed and said: “Kashif, I cannot do anything for Pakistan” To this I retorted: “You have invested billions in … Read entire article »

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Election Update – 14th April, 2013

MQM alleges Rangers harassing its workers The Rabitta Committee of MQM alleged that Rangers were harassing his party workers on the pretext of the ongoing crack down on the criminal elements. In a statement the MQM Rabitta Committee appealed to the Caretaker Prime Minister and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) to stop what it called the Rangers’ harassment of his party workers and supporters in MQM dominated peaceful areas. Earlier, Deputy Convener MQM Rabitta Committee, Dr. Farooq Sattar said that his party has received a threat ‘to sabotage’ his party’s election campaign. He said MQM’s candidates were facing threats throughout the country, including Karachi and Hyderabad. < Read More – http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-96768-Rangers-harassing-workers,-supporters:-MQM >   Free and fair polls not possible if terrorism not controlled, says MQM MQM expressed concern over rising activities of militants in Karachi, and … Read entire article »

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Election Update: 13th April, 2013

Resignation of ILF Punjab president: Lawyers being ignored in PTI ticket awards Insaf Lawyers Forum (ILF) Punjab president Shadab Jafri tendered his resignation on Friday due to the ‘indifference’ of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s leadership towards the lawyers’ community. ILF Lahore president Fayyaz Mehar said the ILF had been completely ignored in the award of party tickets by the Central Parliamentary Board (CPB). “Hamid Khan sold us out. Not a single lawyer from the ILF has gotten a ticket except for himself,” Mehar said. The CPB instead gave tickets to the likes of Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed, who promised several party workers tickets and received favours and bribes from them, Mehar alleged. Jafri, a former provincial election commissioner for the PTI intra-party polls, said Khan had promised PTI office bearers, party tickets on … Read entire article »

Filed under: Elections