Election Watch Update - Mar 10

Former Punjab chief minister Ghulam Mustafa Khar is planning to contest elections from NA-176 Muzaffargarh-I in alliance with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. Khar served under the late prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and now heads the Punjab chapter of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional. According to Khar, he will be talking to the PML-N about seat adjustments. The PML-F will contest NA-176 and the Punjab Assembly seats PP-255 Muzaffargarh-I and PP-253 Muzaffargarh-III.

Four of five Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid MNAs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have reportedly quit the party and the fifth – Nawaz Khan Alai (NA-22 Battagram) – is also set to leave. According to the Express Tribune, “The five seats won on PML-Q’s ticket were Sardar Shah Jahan Yousuf’s NA-20 (Mansehra), Alai’s NA-22 (Battagram), Humayun Saifullah Khan’s NA-27 (Lakki Marwat), Amir Muqam’s NA-31 (Shangla) and Prince Mohiuddin’s NA-32 (Chitral). Muqam and Prince Mohiuddin joined the PML-N and All Pakistan Muslim League respectively. Khan’s brother Anwar Saifullah Khan joined the PPP and another brother Salim Saifullah Khan is leading the PML-Likeminded. Yousuf has also defected to the PML-N.”

Dawn has a timeline of politicians who have switched parties in recent days.

All Pakistan Muslim League, which is headed by Pervez Musharraf, is looking at seat adjustments with Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has finalized the number of polling stations and staffers required for the elections.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s first major pre-election rally was held in Peshawar today.

The Pakistan Peoples Party’s plans of winning seats from Jhelum may be in jeopardy because of differences between its own candidates and the PML-Q’s, with which it has an electoral alliance in Punjab.

The PML-N has finalized eleven candidates for National Assembly and provincial assembly seats from the Sahiwal, Okara and Pakpattan districts in Punjab.

Commentary:

Cyril Almeida looks at the choices facing Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif after the elections, especially in context of nominating a new military chief. - Dawn

 Amir Rana says elections can go ahead in Pakistan despite the violence in the country and examines why. – Dawn