Election Watch Update - Feb 15

Election Watch Update – Feb 15

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement said an electoral alliance with the Pakistan Peoples Party looked out of the question after it emerged in a briefing for Sindh legislators that cases against the Peoples Amn Committee’s leaders may have been dropped. The banned Peoples Amn Committee was patronized by the PPP for several years before it publicly broke ties with it to save its relationship with the MQM. The committee is based in the PPP constituency of Lyari and MNA Faryal Talpur, President Asif Ali Zardari’s sister, has routinely been credited with having led negotiations between the two groups.

The president has asked Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to resolve issues with the MQM. President Zardari also met with Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to discuss nominees for the caretaker government and the electoral alliance of nationalist parties in Sindh which is being formed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional and includes the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

The prime minister says consultations on the caretaker government will begin soon.

The Supreme Court has asked the Election Commission of Pakistan to look at a way to provide Pakistanis living abroad the right to vote. The court has been hearing a petition on the issue filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairperson Imran Khan. The government has said in the past that it would not be possible to figure out a mechanism for this in time for the elections.

Former federal minister Sheikh Rasheed said he would contest elections from a key PML-N constituency (NA-122 Lahore-V). Rasheed also said that there was ‘no harm’ in consulting with the establishment on a nominee for caretaker prime minister.

Public confidence in the government was down to 23% in March and October 2012, reports Gallup in a new survey. Conversely, support for the military was at 88% in October 2012.

The ECP has asked 249 legislators to verify their education qualifications.

Commentary:

Iftikhar Ahmed analyses the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, noting that when those claiming to be revolutionaries bring in ‘electable candidates’ to a party, it is always harmful for the political party. Ahmed looks at the PTI’s strategy and also credits it for holding internal elections, a process he hopes other political parties will also do. – Jang (Urdu)