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 casualties belong to ANP
Thirteen incidents of electoral violence claimed 23 lives – mostly workers of the ANP – while 54 others were injured between April 13 and 19, 2013, says the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN). Also, 10 incidents of political violence left 24 people dead and 28 injured during the week, compared with the preceding week’s 170 killed and 42 injured in 20 incidents.

• Attacks cannot dent ANP poll campaign: Asfandyar
AsfandyarWali Khan, chief of ANP has said that the “rules of the game for elections are being framed by the powerful; still ANP will take active part in the elections. Attacks of Taliban (on us) are in fact a political shot in the arm of ANP. We spent five years with the PPP and it would be unethical to criticise their policies. Pakistan will rue the day if elections are postponed.”

• JUI-F, PML-N lining up candidates for Kohistan fight
After fielding a strong candidate for National Assembly seat NA-23 Kohistan, JamiatUlema-e-Islam is flexing its muscle to win this lone seat of National Assembly and three seats of Provincial Assembly. However its rival PML-N is also geared up to give tough time to the JUI-F candidates.

• PTI to resolve power crisis if voted to power: Imran
Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan has said that if voted to power‚ his party would resolve the energy crisis within the next 2.5 years.He said the two main political parties have served the country for 5‚ 5 times but still they are unable to address the public grievances.

• PML-Q, PML-N gear up for tought fight over Gujrat seats
Tough competition is expected between PML-Q and PML-N on two National Assembly seats – NA-104 and NA-105 – in Gujrat; while PTI and PML-N would fight it out on May 11 on four provincial assembly seats – PP-108, PP-109, PP-110 and PP-111.

• PML-N leader calls nominee’s ticket fake
After tickets distribution, a fresh rift emerges within the PML-N Sindh as party’s Provincial General Secretary Saleem Zia questions the ticket’s validity of the party’s nominee for NA-239 (Karachi).Saleem submitted an application with the returning officer, claiming that PML-N’s nominee Qadir Khan Mandokhel had fake ticket for the elections and requested his disqualification.

• MQM-H willing to surrender legal weapons
The Mohajir Qaumi Movement – Haqiqi (MQM-H) is so determined to make Karachi free of weapons that they are willing to surrender even legal weapons. MQM-H chief Afaq Ahmed accused political parties, many of whom were allied with the government, of procuring millions of arms licences without legal formalities. “These parties collected licences based on quotas and now they have strengthened their militant wings.”

• ECP, caretakers draft security plan for Karachi polls
The federal government has sounded out an alarm over “serious security threats in Karachi” which are likely to cast a shadow over polls. The warning came during a meeting with the election commission on a draft security plan. “We are receiving security threats and indicators for Karachi. I will visit Karachi to discuss the situation with all relevant authorities,” caretaker Interior Minister Malik Habibsaid.

• Two killed in bomb attack on MQM election office in Karachi
A huge explosion took place on Tuesday night near an election office of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in the Taimuria police remits, killing two people and injuring 15 others. Tension gripped the area after the explosion. MQM announced a day of mourning across Sindh & ordered temporary shutdown of all party offices.

• PPP observes day of mourning
President of PPP Karachi Division Qadir Patel has announced to observe day of mourning over killing incidents in Lyari.

• PPP election campaign ignoring mass contact, goes for hi-tech campaign
PPP is now principally relying on hi-tech modes of election campaign rather than organizing huge public meetings because it did not want any of its top stalwarts to fall prey to terrorists like Benazir Bhutto. Sponsoring TV and newspaper ads and sporadic addresses of Bilawal to people of various areas through video links are the main tools of the PPP’s modern day canvassing for the May 11 general elections.

• Fazl expresses distrust for ECP, blames ANP for terrorism
JamiatUlema-e-Islam-Fazl chief MaulanaFazlurRehman on Tuesday expressed distrust over the election commission and blamed the ANP for creating an environment that encouraged terrorism. “How can we trust an election commission that has rejected the pious religious clerics of the country and declared dancers and stage actresses eligible for contesting elections,” Fazl said while talking to reporters in Multan.

• JUI-F leader tears into ANP to garner support
“None other than the Awami National Party is responsible for the backwardness that has plagued the (rural areas around Peshawar), for its leaders were elected from these areas since the 1990s,” said JUI-F leader Arbab Kamal. While commenting on the deteriorating law and order situation, Kamal attributed it to what he called wrong policies of the previous government.

• PPP vows to complete unfinished agenda
Leaders of PPP have pledged to complete their unfinished agenda if came to power again in upcoming general elections. They said the PPP was able to deliver on most of its manifesto points but could not implement some promises due to interventions from certain quarters. They said that Benazir Income Support Programme has proved to be a successful social protection system and the PPP is planning to double the monthly payments under the programme.

• PPP still maintains competitive edge in rural Sindh
Although PPP has lost its popularity among its voters, decades-old voting patterns and other factors may still give it an edge in rural Sindh over its political rivals. PPP’s dwindling popularity is a matter of concern for the PPP ‘jiyalas’, they believe that the party has lost its charm because of the reversal of policies of its founders.

• PTI Youth Wing accuses party leaders of selling tickets
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) youth wing on Tuesday accused the party’s parliamentary board of taking bribes in exchange for allotting tickets to candidates for the upcoming polls. PTI Youth Wing General Secretary Fahim Ahmad Khan accused Shah Farman, Parvez Khattak and PTI provincial president Asad Qaiser of demanding money from candidates.

• Indecisive ECP awaits SC directives on voting for overseas Pakistanis
Faced with difficulties in the provision of voting facility to the overseas Pakistanis, the ECP has decided to wait till today (Wednesday) for the Supreme Court’s instructions to be issued in a related case on the voting facility to Pakistani expatriates.

• Polling arrangements for IDPs to be ready by April 30
The ECP on Tuesday informed the Peshawar High Court that a polling plan for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from tribal areas to cast votes in general elections would be prepared on April 30.

• SHC seeks notice of chalking on city walls
Sindh High Court issued joint directives to the ECP,MQM, JI, and other political parties to file comments expressing what steps they have initiated for removal of political wall chalking and graffiti from the city walls.

• US claims no favourites in Pakistan polls
The United States on Tuesday once again reiterated that it has no favourite candidate or political party in the upcoming general election next month.“No matter what the results, the US would work with the new government in Islamabad, as it was solely up to the people of Pakistan to determine their future leadership. The United States does not support any particular political party or individual candidate. We look forward to continuing to build our bilateral partnership with the government elected by the voters, regardless of the results,” said US Ambassador Richard Olson.

• IHC petitioned for Musharraf’s transfer to Adiala Jail
The notification issued by the chief commissioner that declared former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf’s farmhouse a sub-jail has been challenged in the Islamabad High Court. The petition has been filed by Advocate Aslam Ghumman through his counsel Ashraf Gujjar, seeking nullification of the notification declaring Musharraf’s farmhouse as a sub-jail.