Election Watch Update - Feb 4

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to speak at a rally in Naushehro Feroze district in Sindh on February 8. PPP MNA Zafar Ali Shah (NA-212 Naushehro Feroze-II), who has recently had a number of differences with his party, is expected to formally join the PML-N then.

Former Sindh chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim, who has been living in self-imposed exile for several years, said he will be back in Pakistan by the end of the month.

PPP’s Punjab president Manzoor Wattoo has been replaced by the prime minister in negotiating with the PML-Q for seat adjustments. The PML-Q had complained that Wattoo was trying to bring party members from the PML-Q to the PPP.

Note: Seat adjustments are made when political parties negotiate who they will be fielding from a constituency. For e.g. the PPP could ask the PML-Q to not field a candidate or have a weak candidate contest from a constituency in order to guarantee a win for the PPP. All political parties engage in this process.

According to one report, the PML-Q has decided to contest 75 National Assembly seats and 120 provincial assembly seats. Moonis Elahi will contest elections from Lahore and Gujrat, while his father Pervaiz Elahi will contest elections from Gujrat, likely in opposition to the PPP’s Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar. Pervaiz Elahi may also contest elections from Chakwal and Attock.

PML-N leader Ishaq Dar said that his party would not comply with any deal made by the PPP and Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri. Dr Qadri, on the other hand, has threatened to reveal information about the Election Commission of Pakistan members that would shock people. Qadri has also advised his party’s leadership to finish a membership drive and organizational work by March 5. His party will file a petition at the Supreme Court on February 6 to declare the ECP void.

Weekly holidays have been cancelled for ECP staffers until the elections begin, and working hours have been extended. The ECP has said that staffers will be compensated.