Election Watch Update - Feb 22

The Pakistan Army’s publicity wing announced on Thursday that it would not gain from a delay in elections. “We fully support free, fair and timely elections. We have been supporting the present political set-up for five years and will not get anything if the elections are delayed,” Major General Asim Bajwa, the head of the Inter-Services Public Relations, said.

In a fairly contentious session of the Sindh Assembly on Thursday, the Pakistan Peoples Party repealed the Sindh Peoples Local Government Act and passed a 1979 version of the local government bill that relies heavily on bureaucrats. The move has been criticized by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, who were the architects of the former legislation and negotiated with the PPP for several years to get it passed. The move will help the PPP regain support with constituents that opposed the legislation, is a win for nationalist parties who opposed the legislation and accused the PPP of ‘selling out Sindh’ and will help the MQM bolster its election messaging.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has sent the new nomination form for candidates for approval to the president.

The State Bank of Pakistan says it will provide data on recent bank defaulters to the ECP.

Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim spoke to PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan about the language used in a letter sent by the ECP to Nisar over verifying his degree. The News speculates that the ECP will back down on asking legislators to verify their educational degrees.

Political parties have done little in Balochistan in the past five years, but are still looking at an election as a solution for the crisis in the province, Dawn analyses.

The Islamabad High Court has asked the ECP to decide on the delimitation of two constituencies – NA-209 Jacobabad-II and PS-16 Jacobabad-IV.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has formed a committee to look at seat adjustments with political parties in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Dawn reports that the PPP will face divisions in the party when it begins giving tickets to candidates in the province.

Commentary:

Nusrat Javeed speculates that Mehmood Khan Achakzai has been approached again by the PML-N for the caretaker prime minister position, even though he has yet to agree. ­– The Express Tribune