Election Watch Update - Feb 11

In a speech to Pakistani expatriates in Bradford, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf reiterated that the government was committed to holding free and fair elections. President Asif Ali Zardari and PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Sunday that they would not allow elections to be delayed. The PPP leaders are meeting with party representatives in Punjab this week. They are also scheduled to visit the Jamaat-e-Islami headquarters in Lahore.

The Express Tribune claims that PML-N has turned down President Asif Ali Zardari's request for a meeting with Nawaz Sharif, however the president's spokesperson has denied the report.

Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said that his son Ali Musa Gilani would contest the NA-148 Multan-I seat again. Ali Musa Gilani won the seat in a by-election last February after the seat was vacated when former PPP leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi resigned to join the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Security agencies are looking to revise protocols for political leaders for the elections, including guidelines for the height of the stage for public rallies.

An analysis by the Free and Fair Election Network highlights the performance of PML-N MPAs in the National Assembly, and that of PPP and PML-Q MPAs in developing legislation.

Commentary:

Khadim Hussain looks at the issues associated with holding elections in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, citing recommendations made by a committee to the ECP on how these should be held. Hussain calls for the urgently registering voters, cooperation between the military and civilian administration for ensuring security and for political parties to work together. – Dawn

Huma Yusuf looks at the hype surrounding the emergence of the youth vote bank in Pakistan, noting that political parties have done little to cater to young voters. – Dawn

Former diplomat Asif Ezdi backs the reconstitution of the Election Commission of Pakistan and says there is no ‘conspiracy’ at play that politicians such as Raza Rabbani have suggested. – The News