Election Watch Update - April 24

The Election Commission of Pakistan has released a final list of candidates contesting from Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. A map of constituencies and candidates is available here.

A recorded speech by PPP’s Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was broadcast at party headquarters on Tuesday. Bilawal told party workers that he was ‘assisting’ the PPP’s election campaign and not leading it.

After an attack near an election campaign site in Karachi, the MQM has shut down all election offices in the city.

Dawn profiles Sassui Palijo (PPP), Heer Ismail Soho (MQM) and Marvi Memon (PML-N) who are contesting elections from Thatta. Thatta itself will be a difficult contest for the PPP since the influential Shirazi family pulled its support.

The Majlis Wahdat-al-Muslimeen – a Shia advocacy group contesting elections for the first time – may just be a spoiler by garnering a share of the Shia vote. The PPP’s candidate from Islamabad, Faisal Sakhi Butt, was turned down by the MWM when he asked for their support in the elections. The PPP and the PML-N have been criticized extensively for their inability to control militant groups involved in acts of terrorism against Shias.

Fifty-five candidates accused of terrorism were allowed to contest elections in Pakistan the code of conduct does not explicitly disallow candidates on this ground.

Dawn profiles the NA-139 constituency of Kasur, a ‘microcosm’ of the politics currently in play in central Punjab.

The Express Tribune profiles the impact of the royal families of the former princely states of Swat and Chitral in the elections.

The JI and the PML-N are still hoping for seat adjustments in Rawalpindi and Lahore.