Election Watch Update - Feb 21

The Election Commission of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue, National Accountability Bureau and the State Bank of Pakistan have finalized procedures to verify income and tax details of candidates contesting the next elections.

This includes:

  • A committee comprising representatives of the State Bank, Federal Board of Revenue, National Database and Registration Authority and National Accountability Bureau that will scrutinize candidates
  • Nomination papers submitted by candidates will be available online
  • Information provided by candidates will be analysed by the relevant departments
  • The Federal Board of Revenue and State Bank of Pakistan will provide details of tax and bank defaulters and the National Accountability Bureau will provide information on people who have been convicted or made plea bargains
  • Candidates who have not paid utility bills in excess of Rs10,000 for over six months when filing papers will be identified

Legislators, including the Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Farooq H. Naek (PPP) and the Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan (PML-N), hit out at the ECP in a National Assembly sitting on Wednesday and accused it of overstepping its powers and criticizing politicians. The assembly has decided to send a bipartisan committee to the ECP to negotiate.

PPP leaders met at the Presidency in Islamabad to discuss election issues, but the government said no formal meeting had occurred, assumedly because the president is barred from being head of a political party.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf launched its education policy on Wednesday, which calls for increase spending in education and including local languages. The policy is available here. The PTI has asked the ECP to give it a ‘cricket bat’ as an election symbol.

The PPP and the PML-Q have agreed on seat adjustments for over 100 constituencies, but failed to agree on seats in Lahore, Gujrat and Multan.

Nawaz Sharif has reportedly given into Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s suggestion that the PML-N not negotiate with the government over the caretaker prime minister nominee.

Commentary:

Dr Akbar Zaidi says former finance minister Hafeez Shaikh, who resigned this week, would not be a good choice for caretaker prime minister as has been rumoured. Dr Zaidi questions why Pakistan should have to suffer a ‘failed technocrat’ for the position and urges the political class to show its independence. – The Express Tribune

Nazir Naji comments on a recent speech by Jamaat-e-Islami chief Syed Munawwar Hasan in which he claimed Bahria Town’s Malik Riaz would be a candidate for president. Naji says he doesn’t quite believe that Riaz [who has been a key interlocutor / negotiator in the past five years] would ever enter politics. – Dunya (Urdu)

Nusrat Javeed analyses the reasons behind Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s rant against the ECP in the National Assembly. – The Express Tribune