Pakistan Votes: The Elections 2018 Blog
Real-time election news, analysis and opinion from across Dawn
Real-time election news, analysis and opinion from across Dawn
The Dawn.com 2018 elections survey has returned with some interesting — and some rather concerning — statistics.
Take this, for instance: only 41 per cent of the 18,136 respondents said they believe the July 25 elections will be free and fair.
Interestingly, the survey showed that the older you are, the more likely you are to say the elections might not be free.
Also notable is the fact that out of the respondents from all four provinces, a majority of those who took the survey from Balochistan (nearly 54%) think the elections will not be free and fair.
PTI chief Imran Khan has been summoned by the Election Commission of Pakistan for using 'ghair ikhlaaqi zabaan' (unbecoming language) during his election campaign.
The commission said it had taken notice after news media reported that Khan had used pejorative language about other candidates and political parties.
According to our correspondent, Khan has been asked to present himself in person for a hearing tomorrow.
You've heard the word thrown around a lot: 'halqa bandi', or delimitation, is a critical aspect of this year's election.
It's worth exploring what it means, if just to add a little more depth to coffee-table conversations on constituencies and which 'NA' you belong to.
Read this detailed piece spelling out what the word means, how it is done, and what impact it can have on the result of the election.
A key leader of the Jamaat-i-Islaami (JI) and a candidate for Islamabad's NA-53 and NA-54 seats, Mian Aslam, has voiced his concerns of pre-poll rigging while threatening to "teach the administration a lesson if they did not change their behaviour".
The remarks were made in a protest held outside the office of the chief commissioner of Islamabad. The protest, led by Aslam, saw his party's members level accusations against the chief commissioner for being involved in pre-poll rigging.
The election commission and administration were blamed for favouring certain candidates but arresting others, and raiding election offices at their whim.
While speaking to journalists outside the chief commissioner's office, Aslam remarked that the people's support can only be obtained if the elections are fair and transparent.
"Ever since the date of the election was announced, there has been an effort to create hurdles in obtaining this support, and the election atmosphere is being dampened," he said.
Aslam, who belongs to the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) alliance of political parties, alleged that despite having permission to conduct campaign activities in Islamabad, local election officers, police and plain-clothes officials harass the party workers, and demand no-objection certificates (NOCs) to conduct corner meetings.
"Will the elections be fair after they have trampled all over the Constitution and the basic rights granted to people?" he asked.
"Who is this entity that wants to sabotage public opinion and turn the election controversial?" he added.
Rangers have arrested two men, belonging to MQM-L, who were allegedly planning attacks on political opponents and former party members in an attempt to sabotage the election process.
The men were arrested from Karachi and had planned to target PML-N and PPP candidates as well as PSP office bearers, the Sindh Rangers said in a statement.
The paramilitary force warns that the threat is not yet over, as the group, which is boycotting the election process, has set up similar teams across the city to target candidates.
At least five people have sustained minor injuries after the stage at an election gathering of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) in Safi tehsil of Mohmand tribal district collapsed.
The stage reportedly gave way because of overcrowding. Senators Sirajul Haq and Mushtaq Ahmed were among several prominent leaders who were on the stage at the time of the collapse, but they remained unharmed.
The five injured have been shifted to a local hospital for treatment.
Watch the moment it happened below:
With polls just around the corner, Dawn.com had invited readers to share their thoughts and predictions regarding the 2018 general elections in an online survey.
The snapshot, non-scientific survey, which ran from July 4-9, was taken by 18,136 respondents.
The results have been shared here.
What are people thinking? Here's a snapshot:
Pakistan may have emerged as the fifth largest emerging economy but its digital economy is still a work in progress.
With the elections just around the corner, the question is that how much focus have all the major contesting parties put on their agendas for the continued strengthening of the local technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem.
To find out a comprehensive, bit-by-bit analysis of the PML-N, PTI and PPP's digital policies, head this way.
The back-and-forth exchange between the PPP and the PTI leadership continued on Wednesday as Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari accused Imran Khan of hatching conspiracies to become the prime minister of Pakistan.
"This is definitely a misapprehension of Khan sahab that he can become the PM of Pakistan by conspiring," Bilawal said, referring to the PTI's tactical Sindh-based alliance with the GDA. "He will perhaps fail in this conspiracy."
Bilawal also questioned "why is Imran Khan afraid of free and fair elections."
The full copy of Bilawal's scathing criticism of Khan can be read here.
Voters will now be able to check their polling station by sending their national identity card (NIC) number to 8300, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced on Wednesday.
Although the 8300 messaging service has been active for some time, it only provided information on the electoral area. When the ECP is done updating its database "by today or tomorrow", the reply from 8300 will also provide details of the polling stations, an ECP spokesperson said.
Yes, voting is a civic duty and we should all vote but does it really have any positive consequences?
Here are a few research-backed reasons that demonstrate that voting absolutely does have tangible benefits.
Research on municipal service provision in the Lahore district shows that urban citizens’ access to services improves when there is greater competition at the provincial and national constituency level.
A new study using data on elections and violence from 1988-2011 suggests that levels of violence depend on which party gets elected.
If your're still not convinced, then read the story's full version.
A change of tack — from idealism to pure expediency — has certainly helped bring Imran Khan closer to his goal.
It seems almost certain the PTI will be able to hold its ground in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. While a clear victory in KP does matter in the final reckoning, the real battleground is Punjab that could make or break Imran Khan’s dream.
The PTI seems to have already established some understanding with the establishment backed Balochistan Awami Party during the Senate chairman’s election early this year.
In Sindh, the party has reached an electoral adjustment with the GDA. The disintegration of the MQM has also provided an opportunity for the PTI to grab a few more seats from Karachi.
With these likely permutations, the PTI certainly stands a chance of scraping through to the pedestal. But there’s still a long way to go before the final lap.
The Pakistan Rah-i-Haq Party — an electoral platform for the outlawed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) — on Tuesday claimed to have got support of the PML-N, PTI and several others and for its key leader, Aurangzeb Farooqi, who is contesting elections on NA-238.
“We are thankful for their trust and this cooperation suggests that the people have faith in our leadership and together we can make this electoral process much better, transparent and peaceful.” — Farooqi
The full list of Farooqi's backers can be found in this story's full version.
Farooqi was the subject of a recent New York Times feature story titled: Violent Extremist or Political Candidate? In Pakistan Election, You Can Be Both.
The newly-formed Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) has unveiled its election manifesto, promising to introduce good governance and financial discipline, restoring peace and order, giving priority to health and education sectors and solving the problem of drinking water shortage in Balochistan.
BAP president Jam Mir Kamal Khan Alyani said Balochistan was rich with natural resources and after coming into power the BAP would use these resources for the benefits of the province’s people and development of its backward areas.
He further said that objectives could not be achieved without a good governance structure. Therefore, he added, the BAP would bring improvement in the governance structure of the province.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition challenging the candidature of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry from constituency NA-67 Jhelum with an observation that the petitioner had not raised objections at the time of filing of nomination papers by the candidate.
In June, petitioner Syed Fakhar Haider had successfully challenged Chaudhry's candidature in an election tribunal — a verdict that was later overturned by the Lahore High Court.
Haider attempted to have Chaudhry disqualified for a second time in as many months but the SC did not buy his argument.
And to know more about Fawad Chaudhry's political journey and background, check this out.
Caretaker Federal Minister for Law and Justice Syed Ali Zafar has reiterated the commitment of the caretaker government to hold elections on July 25 and said that anti-state elements want to derail the process but they would be opposed.
"We have also countered the narrative, which spread after the tragic incidents of terrorism in Mastung, Bannu and Peshawar, that the state failed to protect the people. Those spreading this narrative are helping anti-state elements. — Syed Ali Zafar
Senate Standing Committee on Interior Chairman Senator Rehman Malik has informed the upper house that he has convened a meeting of the committee on July 19 to get briefings from the inspectors general of police, chief secretaries and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to review security arrangements for candidates, voters and polling staff on election day.
Malik pointed out that according to the law, CCTV cameras are to be installed in all 85,000 polling stations. However, according to the ECP, the cameras have been installed at the 22,000 polling stations which have been declared sensitive.
"We will ask to what extent our guideline has been implemented. This is a matter of concern and we will ask ECP about its criteria for declaring a polling station sensitive. We will also make sure ballot papers are not printed at private printing presses." — Rehman Malik
Shahbaz Sharif will be the next PM of Pakistan in the event the PML-N wins the elections, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Tuesday.
Abbasi said that, but then immediately dulled his own statement by adding that the final decision will still be made with consensus in the party after election results are announced.
The Airblue founder also denied that there exists a split in the party at the top level, and also discussed the whole Chaudhry Nisar ticket saga.
The on-time staging of general elections 2018 had been under threat for some time due to a number of cases regarding poll hopefuls' candidature still being heard in high courts.
However, this changed on Tuesday when informed sources told Dawn that 21 of the total 22 pending cases in Punjab had been disposed off.
The Sindh High Court chief justice, too, has issued a directive for disposal of all pending cases by Thursday. The province has the largest number of pending cases (81).
And with that, the election commission breathed a collective sigh of relief.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has directed all scheduled banks in the country to directly provide complete details of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) foreign funding for the period from 2009 to 2013 to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
In November 2014, Akbar S. Babar, a founding member of the PTI, had accused the party leadership of corruption and alleged that the party had been illegally funded over the years.
The case, which has been moving at snail's pace due to what was once described as "delaying tactics", is currently with the ECP.
For more details on why the SBP has asked all the banks to provide the PTI's funding details to the ECP, read this.