Election Watch Update - Mar 16

The Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz have rejected each other’s nominees for caretaker prime minister. The PPP’s nominees are former finance minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, retired judge Mir Hazar Khan Khoso and former State Bank of Pakistan governor and the current dean of the Institute of Business Administration Dr Ishrat Husain.

The PML-N has withdrawn retired judge Shakirullah Jan’s name from its list of candidates, and now just has two nominees: retired judge Nasir Aslam Zahid and veteran politican Rasul Bux Palijo. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement is reportedly backing Nasir Aslam Zahid and Dr  Ishrat Husain for caretaker prime minister.

If the government and the opposition fail to agree, the issue will go to a parliamentary committee.

The MQM has also nominated Zahid for the caretaker chief minister position in Sindh, along with Muneeb Ahmad Khan, Dr Ghous Muhammad, Barrister Habibur Rehman and Mehmood Alam Rizvi. The PPP has nominated retired judges Deedar Hussain and Hamid Mirza.

Retired judge Tariq Pervez Khan will serve as caretaker chief minister in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Opposition parties in Punjab will finalize nominees for the caretaker chief minister in the province today.

The Election Commission of Pakistan has asked the police to enhance security arrangements for district election commissioners and other staffers. After the attack on District Election Commissioner Ziaullah Qasmi in Quetta, the ECP fears other officers could also be targeted. The ECP is specifically bringing up the issue with the police departments and provincial governments of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

PPP MNA Jamshed Ahmed Dasti (NA-178 Muzaffargarh-III) will contest elections independently, but Dasti has made similar statements about leaving the PPP over the past few years. Dasti has long opposed the Khar family’s candidates in the district, including foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

The Pakistan Peoples Party-Shaheed Bhutto – created by Benazir Bhutto’s brother Murtaza and now headed by his widow Ghinwa Bhutto – will field candidates on all constituencies.

The ‘sun’ and the ‘crescent’ are this year’s most popular election symbols.

The electoral rolls will include photographs of voters to ensure that there is no voter fraud.

The Supreme Court has asked the ECP to complete the process of registering Pakistanis based abroad as voters.