Election Watch Update - May 10

Note: Thank you to everyone who subscribed to, recommended and sent feedback on the Election Watch. This is the last update in the series. I apologise for the sporadic updates this week as I’ve been busy with work commitments.

Election campaigning came to an end on Thursday night. Polls open countrywide at 8 am PST on Saturday and close at 5 pm PST.

The 2013 elections have been the most violent in the country’s history, with over 100 people killed in attacks preceding the polls. On Thursday, former prime minister and PPP leader Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son Ali Haider Gilani was kidnapped by gunmen who first attacked him at a corner meeting in the Gilanis’ home constituency of Multan. Yousaf Raza Gilani has appealed for calm.

Final campaign speeches were made by PML-N’s Nawaz Sharif (I have a profile of Sharif for CSM here), PPP’s Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari (via video from an undisclosed location), MQM’s Farooq Sattar (at a press conference), Jamaat-e-Islami’s Syed Munawar Hasan and JUI-F’s Fazlur Rehman, and PTI’s Imran Khan (via video from his hospital room).

The PPP and the ANP have announced a seat adjustment in Karachi.

The military will be deployed at selected polling stations.

Herald looks at the impact of dynasties in Pakistani politics in its latest issue. Five Rupees studies electoral trends, including voter turnouts, the kind of coalitions to expect, and the candidates fielded by the major parties.

President Asif Ali Zardari signed an ordinance that would allow overseas Pakistanis to vote – the measures can, however, only be implemented for the next elections, scheduled for 2018.

Reports that a white tiger brought to a PML-N rally has died are incorrect, its owner claims.

Karachi’s cafes are offering discounts for voters.