Election 2013: parties naming candidates; defections at peak

PoliticsElection 2013: parties naming candidates; defections at peak

ISLAMABAD: The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN)’s District Long-Term Observers (DLTOs) observed at least 39 districts between March 1 and 21, 2013 and identified 47 political developments related to general election 2013, including districts where election campaigns started before the announcement of the election schedule, says a press release issued by FAFEN on Thursday.

DLTOs identified twenty four (24) significant political developments in KP, followed by ten (10) in Sindh, five (5) each in Punjab as well as FATA and three in Balochistan.

The developments pertain to at least 12 political parties as well as independent candidates. The parties are Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl-ur-Rehman (JUI-F), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami-ul-Haq (JUI-S), Pakistan Peoples’ Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan Muslim League-Like Minded (PML-LM), Awami National Party (ANP), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), Tehreek-e-Tahafuz-e-Pakistan (TTP) and Awami Muslim League (AML).

FAFEN DLTOs observed a total of 47 political developments or early campaigning activities in 39 districts. The most developments and campaigning activities were reported in 18 districts of KP (24 developments/incidents), followed by nine districts of Sindh (10 developments), four districts of Punjab and five FATA Agencies (5 developments), and three developments in three districts of Balochistan. The following table sorts these activities by province.

FAFEN observers recorded nine (9) activities in as many districts related to PTI that can be construed as early campaigning or political developments. These activities were reported in KP, Punjab and FATA.

A total of six election-related activities or developments of PML-N were recorded by FAFEN observers in six districts.

JUI-F arranged four political activities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

JUI-S announced the names of contesting candidates for NA and PA seats in Lakki Marwat. Syed Yousaf Shah will contest for NA-27, Hidayat Ullah for KP-74, Kalu Khan for KP-75 and Habib Ullah Haqqani for KP-76.

In Haripur, seat adjustment on two PA seats (PK-49 and PK-52) was almost finalized between JUI-F and PML-N.  The former was likely to support the latter’s candidates Raja Faisal Zaman and former KP Chief Minister Pir Sabir Shah.

Moreover, negotiations between both parties were underway for seat adjustment for a NA and two other PA seats. Pir Alam Zeb (JUI-F) and Omer Ayub Khan (PML-N) were being considered for the NA seat.

Former MNA Sardar Muhammad Mushtaq, who recently switched from PML-N to PPPP, started election campaigning in Haripur. Tough competition is expected in NA-19 between PPPP and a joint candidate of JUI-F and PML-N.

In Mirpurkhas, Provincial President of PML (Like-Minded) nominated Zahid Hussain Mari to contest for NA- 226, Arbab Inayat Ullah for PS-66, former senator Ghaffar Qureshi for PS- 64 and Zulifqar Shah for PS-65.

PML-F finalized the names of candidates for one NA and three PA seats in Umerkot and forwarded them to PML-F chairman for approval.  For PS-68, the names of Haji Ali Bux Mangrio, Muhammad Hashmi Memon and Bhamro Mal Malhi were recommended.

The leaders of Awami National Party – Afrasiab Khattak, Mian Iftikhar and Nawabzada Mohsin Ali – attended the inaugural ceremony of Khushal Khan Khattak University in Karak (KP).

In Tribal Area (XII-FRs), ANP hosted a jirga to finalize Shahi Khan as the candidate to contest for NA-47. In Lakki Marwat, the district chapter of ANP announced their candidates for various constituencies – Ali Sarwar Khan from NA-27, Sadar Uddin Khan from PK-74, Ibrahim Khan from PK-75 and Humayun Khan Begu Khel from PK-76.

In Panjgur, BNP-M held a meeting to discuss election strategy, and concluded that party leadership would finalize whether to participate in the General Election or boycott it.

Tehreek-e-Tahafuz-e-Pakistan Chairman Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan visited Charasdda (KP) to kick off election campaign. He nominated Peer Aftab as party candidate to contest for PK-18 seat. This is the first nomination made by the party for contesting the General Election.

In Karachi East, MQM organized a meeting with the Gujjar community in Shah Faisal Town and managed to win the community’s support for its candidate for NA-256.

In Rawalpindi, Awami Muslim League (AML) held two public gatherings in two constituencies: NA-55 and NA-56.

In Orakzai Agency, a potential independent candidate for NA seat, Ajmal Khan, arranged a grand jirga with the Malaks and Shaikhan tribes, urging them to support him in the General Election.

In Khyber Agency, the potential candidate for NA-45 Al-Haj Shahjee Gul funded the repair of pavements and clean drinking water scheme in order to get the support of voters.

Pakistan Awami Tehrik chief Tahirul Qadri addressed a gathering in Rawalpindi and announced his party would boycott the General Election.

Asad Haroon
Asad Haroon
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