Election Watch Update - Mar 18

The PPP and the PML-N are looking at new nominees after both parties rejected each others candidates for caretaker prime minister. Dawn reports that the names being discussed include PPP Senator Raza Rabbani, PML-N Senator Ishaq Dar, ANP Senator Afrasiyab Khattak and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party Mehmood Khan Achakzai as well as noted lawyer and activist Asma Jahangir. Jahangir has previously said she doesn’t want the job, while Achakzai was reportedly a potential nominee for the PML-N’s first list. The PPP said Achakzai and his party will be contesting the elections, so he cannot be nominated.

The PPP has nominated Asma Jahangir, Dunya News head Mian Amir Mehmood and Hafeez Akhtar Randhawa for the caretaker chief minister of the Punjab province.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the head of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, is upset at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz from dropping retired judge Shakirullah Jan’s name from its list of caretaker prime minister nominees. Rehman met with the PML-N and the PPP’s Amin Fahim on Sunday.

The News reports that the MQM will support former president Pervez Musharraf’s return to Pakistan and will not field a candidate against him in the Karachi constituency of NA-250.

The JUI-F will release its manifesto by the end of March. The News takes a look at its planned education policy.

The Pakistan Awami Tehreek, headed by Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, will not be contesting elections and will hold sit-ins on polling day instead. Qadri said on Sunday that the electoral reforms the government promised to him were not enacted.

The Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf say they have agreed on seat adjustments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and will be working out a formula for this by March 26.

Dawn predicts a win for the PPP and religious parties in Kohat.

FATA based leaders of 11 political parties have criticized the ECP and NADRA for not properly implementing election laws in the tribal areas, and failing to register voters. The Express Tribune takes a look at the realities of election campaigning and voting in South Waziristan’s NA-41 and NA-42 constituencies, after the decade long presence of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.

Maulana Sami-ul-Haq says his faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam will contest elections countrywide. The JUI-S is part of a six-party coalition of religious-political parties called the Muttahida Deeni Mahaz, which also includes the banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Noorani), Pakistan Rah-e-Haq Party, Jamaat Ahle Hadith and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan.

Commentary:

Muhammad Ali Siddiqui analyses the PPP’s manifesto and brings up the interesting question of who will be ‘selling’ the manifesto to the people – Dawn

Moeed Yusuf says elections won’t be delayed in Pakistan and looks at the ways polls have been delayed in the past and how these are unlikely scenarios now. – Dawn

Hussain H. Zaidi takes a look at the PML-N’s manifesto. – The News