Election Watch Update - Mar 24

Retired judge Mir Hazar Khan Khoso has been picked as the caretaker prime minister by the Election Commission of Pakistan. Khoso, 84, will be sworn in on Monday and will serve until the elections and the parliamentary vote on a new prime minister. Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf left the official residence on Sunday afternoon.

Former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf arrived in Karachi on Sunday afternoon.  Altaf Hussain – the chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement who was an ally of Musharraf for a considerable part of his nine-year rule – said that Musharraf had a legal right to participate in politics. The MQM has denied reports it will be allying with Musharraf for the elections. The Express Tribune reports that the Saudi royal family has told the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz – a staunch critic of Musharraf – not to ‘create any trouble’ for the former army chief.

The Jamaat-e-Islami and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf have formed committees to discuss a potential seat adjustment deal. There is speculation that the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazlur Rehman) will also agree on a deal for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa constituencies in order to not split the right-wing vote bank.

A bipartisan committee of the Punjab Assembly has been formed to decide on a caretaker chief minister for Punjab, the only province that has not picked a nominee as yet.

The ECP has formed 400 monitoring teams for the elections. The ECP’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter has issued dates for filing nomination papers.

Ghotki’s Lund family is opting to support the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional and not the PPP in the elections.

The PPP is also backing the MQM in its stand against redrawing constituencies in Karachi.

The News looks at the focus on education in the PML-Q’s planned manifesto.

Commentary:

Rahimullah Yusufzai looks at the pre-election scenario in Balochistan. – The News

Cyril Almeida analyses the debate on the caretaker prime minister nomination. – Dawn

Amir Rana discusses the challenges faced by religious-political parties in the context of the elections and their stand on violence. – Dawn