Attacks on political parties and election events continued in Pakistan over the weekend. In Balochistan, the house of National Party chief Dr Malik Baloch was hit by a grenade while Baloch was addressing a party meeting. An ANP rally was attacked in Pishin. Voter turnout in the provincial capital of Quetta is expected to be fairly low. PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will reportedly supervise the party’s election campaign via video link. The Punjab police has categorized politicians for their security detail.
In Punjab, election campaigning has kicked off after weeks of inactivity because of the uncertainty that candidates had over their nominations. The PML-N and the PTI have organized rallies throughout the province, while corner meetings for MNA and MPA candidates are being held. The MQM is keeping a lower profile in Sindh due to threats from the TTP and attacks on party workers. Among the MQM candidates is Syed Ali Raza Abidi (NA-251), the owner of the popular Karachi restaurant Biryani of the Seas.
Dawn profiles the intense contest in the Kasur district of Punjab, with three strong candidates from the PTI, PML-N and PML-Q and an influential independent.
The JI has not been able to reach a deal with the ASWJ – who it is allied with in the Difa-e-Pakistan Council – over seats in Rawalpindi. The management of the Lal Masjid is supporting PPP candidate Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar (NA-48 Rawalpindi-I).
The PML-N’s Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is also contesting a provincial assembly seat (PP-6) as an independent to defeat the other contenders because they deserted the party.