Election Watch Update - Mar 30

As parties begin finalizing their candidates for the elections, those left out on the list are looking to defect. Among these are Sheikh Waqas Akram who left the PML-Q for the PML-N and is now in talks with the PPP. Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali, a former PPP legislator who quit the party to join the PTI, has left the party after he wasn’t allotted a National Assembly seat. Infighting continues among PML-N members hoping to get NA nominations. As the PPP starts finalizing candidates to contest elections in Sindh, TV channels reported that Syed Khursheed Shah walked out of a party meeting to protest not being given a seat. A database of legislators from the last National Assembly, as well as the runners-up in the 2008 election, who switched party lines is available here.

Officers of the Election Commission of Pakistan and the National Database Registration Authority have warned against hurriedly implementing a system to allow Pakistanis abroad to vote. The Supreme Court has ordered the ECP to figure out a way, even though the government and the ECP told the court in the past it would not be possible in time for this year’s elections.

Dawn analyses the differences in the PPP and PML-N manifestos on setting up a constitutional court and compares this to what the parties had agreed on in the Charter of Democracy signed by Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.

Akbar Bugti’s son Talal Bugti, who heads a faction of the Jamhoori Watan Party, has asked the ECP to look at the state of security and of the internally displaced people in the Dera Bugti district. The ECP met with political parties in Balochistan to discuss their concerns and ensure they would participate in the May 11 election.

Talks between the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazlur Rehman) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz on seat adjustment have not been successful.

Time magazine looks at whether Pervez Musharraf will be able to campaign for the elections and his legal issues.