Election Watch Update - April 11

The ECP has started to cut down the number of candidates who applied to contest elections. This will be followed by a round of withdrawals by candidates, especially once parties such as the PTI and PML-N finalize their nominations. Over 4,000 people were rejected by the ECP. Election tribunals cleared several high-profile candidates who had earlier been rejected but filed appeals, including Ayaz Amir (PML-N), Abid Imam (Ind) and Faisal Saleh Hayat (Ind). The Lahore High Court, in a ruling yesterday, struck down Jamshed Dasti’s three-year sentence and fine that he had received for having falsified his educational degree.

The PPP still does not appear to have an election campaigning strategy, but Faryal Talpur – President Zardari’s sister – refuted the perception that the PPP is a ‘drawing room party’. The PPP has released its list of candidates for Sindh, but did not announce nominees for the Thatta and Karachi districts. While fear prevails throughout FATA, in Wana, South Waziristan, members of the PPP and the ANP will not be using party flags et al because of TTP threats. The ANP's candidates are also scaling down campaigning in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Caretaker prime minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso has asked political parties in Balochistan to participate in the elections, echoing calls made by the ECP and the Pakistan Army.  The Balochistan National Party-Mengal and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz have agreed to start deliberations on a seat adjustment deal in the province. The PML-N’s Shahbaz Sharif was in Quetta to meet BNP-M’s Sardar Akhtar Mengal, and he also met Mehmood Khan Achakzai of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and Jamhoori Watan Party’s Talal Bugti.

The PML-N has told the Jamaat-e-Islami that a seat adjustment deal looks unlikely given that the PML-N has a considerable number of candidates who want to contest elections.

AFP profiles Pakistani politicians and the trend of defections. View a list of elected legislators and the runners-up in the 2008 elections who defected from their party here.

Dawn profiles the candidates and parties contesting for the Gujrat constituencies.

The caretaker government will not be allowing senior officials to travel abroad before the elections.