Election Watch Update - Feb 10

Several reports had indicated that President Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif would meet on Sunday, as the president is due to pay a condolence call on Nawaz Sharif for the death of his brother. The PML-N has not confirmed if the president is visiting Sharif. Ummat reports that Saudi Arabia’s envoy to Pakistan will meet with Zardari and Sharif to work a way around the impasse.

After a series of meetings between Sindh nationalist groups, the parties formally launched an alliance on Saturday. The alliance will field joint candidates for the National Assembly and provincial assembly, and is led by Pakistan Muslim League-Functional chief Pir Pagara Syed Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi. The coalition includes the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazlur Rehman), National Peoples Party, Sunni Tehreek, Sindh United Party, Sindh Taraqqi Pasand Party, Awami Tehreek and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, six religious parties have formed a coalition called the Muttahida Deeni Mahaz. The coalition will field candidates in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa election. The parties include the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Sami-ul-Haq), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Noorani), Pakistan Rah-e-Haq Party, Jamaat Ahle Hadith, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan. The coalition says former ISI chief Hamid Gul and disgraced scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan may come on board, and it has also invited the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazlur Rehman).

The ECP has explained why it legally able to ban recruitment for government jobs ahead of the elections. The ECP will ask political parties next week to meet the legal requirements to get election symbols.

PML-Q head Chaudhry Shujaat met Pakistan Awami Tehreek/Minhaj-ul-Quran head Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri to discuss nominees for the caretaker government.

President Asif Ali Zardari met with PPP leaders in Punjab to discuss election strategy.

The head of the PPP in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Anwar Saifullah, says 500 party workers have applied for election tickets. According to Saifullah, the PPP has been in touch with the Qaumi Watan Party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazlur Rehman), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Sami-ul-Haq) and the Jamaat-e-Islami for seat adjustments.

Commentary:

Cyril Almeida writes about why much-needed economic reforms won’t take place even after the next elections. – Dawn