Election Watch Update - Mar 9

Pakistan could go to the polls on May 9. The Election Commission of Pakistan has proposed scheduling elections on any date from May 7 – 10.

Dawn takes a look at why former finance minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh is staying in Islamabad, and rumours of his nomination as caretaker prime minister. After Shaikh resigned in February, newspapers speculated that Shaikh would be the government’s choice for caretaker prime minister or the caretaker chief minister of Sindh. A friend of Shaikh’s quoted in the article said that, “He is 110 per cent sure about becoming the caretaker prime minister,” Mr Shaikh’s friend said. “Even if he is not nominated by the major political parties with consensus, he will ultimately be acceptable to the two main parties.”

The Pakistan Peoples Party is meeting with allied political parties on Tuesday to discuss the caretaker government. National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza is also consulting with parliamentary leaders in case the government and opposition can’t decide on nominees and the issue goes to a parliamentary committee.  

The ECP has dismissed the law minister’s objections to proposed amendments in nomination forms and has asked the minister to present his and the ECP’s points of view to the president. If the president does not approve of the amendments by March 11, the ECP will have to use old nomination forms.

The Director General of Military Operations has assured the ECP it will help provide security for the elections.

People with physical disabilities have decided to field their own candidates in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Tank district.

Commentary:

Babar Sattar looks at the role of the ECP, its legacy and challenges and how change in Pakistan will be incremental. – The News

Saleem Safi says the ‘global establishment’ has come to an agreement with Nawaz Sharif, and now Sharif’s dealings with Pakistan’s establishment will improve, paving the way for his party to come to power in the next elections. – Jang (Urdu)