Election Watch Update - Mar 29

The ECP has changed the election schedule and extended the date to file nomination papers. Based on the current schedule, a final list of candidates will only be available by April 14.

It has also cancelled the ban on recruitments for government jobs, which had been put into place after reports that the outgoing government was planning to induct people in order to gain votes.

While the ANP and the MQM, as well as the JI, JUI-F and other religious parties, have announced their candidates for the elections, the PTI, PPP, PML-Q and the PML-N are still discussing their options. The PML-Q has finalized candidates for Sindh but not for all of Punjab, where it is expected to have a seat adjustment deal with the PPP. Dawn News reported late Thursday night that PPP’s Sindh leaders were unable to finalize candidates at a meeting because party representatives offered up a series of complaints against Owais Muzaffar. The PML-N is also discussing the idea of not having Nawaz or Shahbaz Sharif contest in the Lahore constituency of NA-126, which PTI chairperson Imran Khan is set to run for.

Musarrat Shaheen, one of Pakistan’s most prominent film actors who quit acting several years ago, is preparing to contest the NA-24 seat against Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam head Maulana Fazlur Rehman and the PPP’s Faisal Karim Kundi, who was the deputy speaker in the National Assembly.

Nationalist parties in Sindh have begun to resolve their differences ahead of the elections. While nationalist parties have never been a strong electoral force, their visibility and ability to amass large groups may be a vital factor in the province.

Caretaker prime minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso has not named a cabinet as yet.

A man threw a shoe at former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf at the Sindh High Court today. Aafia Siddiqui's sister Fauzia Siddiqui says she will contest the NA-250 Karachi-XII seat against Musharraf.

The Jamaat-e-Islami says it is only open to seat-by-seat adjustment deals with the PTI, PML-N and other religious parties, not the ones that were part of the government coalition.