Election Watch Update - Feb 2

Dunya reports that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has given a list of five names to the Pakistan Peoples Party for the caretaker government, and discussions between the two parties will continue after the PPP has consulted with its allies. However, PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan reiterated on Friday that there would be no talks with the PPP.

Law minister Farooq H. Naek says members of the Election Commission of Pakistan have immunity under the Constitution and any effort to interfere in the commission’s affairs will lead to a delay in elections.

Activists of the PPP’s chapter in Upper Dir have threatened to run as independent candidates in the next elections if they are not consulted over the selection of candidates for party seats. Infighting continues in the ranks of the Pervez Musharraf-led All Pakistan Muslim League. The party has also authorized the former president to go ahead with nominating candidates for the elections and consulting with political parties for alliances.

There has been an increase of 700,000 female voters in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, bringing the total up to over 5 million.

The ECP has extended the process of verifying voters in Karachi by 10 days because of delays stemming from the city’s security situation. Political parties including the Jamaat-e-Islami, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the PML-N protested against the ECP on Friday over not including the military in the verification drive. The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) has refused to take part in a protest in support of the ECP on February 4 because the PML-N did not back the JUI-F in its opposition to governor’s rule in Balochistan.

Commentary:

Haroon-ur-Rasheed makes a case against Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, claiming that he has failed to take notice of alleged financial propriety by the government and that he refused to look into redrawing constituencies in Karachi. – Dunya (Urdu)