Live: Elections 2024
Published 03 Feb, 2024 04:45pm

Will prefer death over striking a deal: Imran

After his conviction in Iddat case, PTI chief Imran Khan said he has neither accepted nor would accept in future any deals with the powers that be, saying, going as far as saying that he would “choose death over making a deal with anyone”.

In a brief chat with court reporters after the verdict, he said, “I have not made a deal, nor will I ever make one.”

He said that his party’s top leadership was targeted right after the announcement of the election schedule.

“Now, election candidates are not even being allowed to run their campaigns,” he rued.

Published 03 Feb, 2024 04:37pm

Bilawal promises train project for people of Tharparkar

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari says he will launch a train project in Tharparkar when his party comes into power.

Addressing a rally in Tharparkar, the former foreign minister said the PPP will arrange trains from Tharparkar to Karachi so the people can travel back and forth easily.

Published 03 Feb, 2024 04:16pm

Iddat case created to ‘humiliate’ me and Bushra Bibi: Imran

Following his conviction in Iddat case, PTI founder Imran Khan told court reporters that the case against him was created to “humiliate and disgrace” both him and his spouse, Bushra Bibi.

“This marks the first instance in history where a case related to Iddat has been initiated,” he said.

Imran said it was also the first time that someone was sentenced 14 years imprisonment in a Toshakhana case.

Published 03 Feb, 2024 03:48pm

Iddat case: Fourth court conviction for Imran in run up to elections, sentenced to 7 years

A Rawalpindi court has sentenced former premier Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi to seven years each in a case related to their marriage during the latter’s Iddat period.

Senior civil judge Qudratullah announced the verdict on the complaint of Bushra’s former husband Khawar Fareed Maneka in a makeshift court at the Adiala district jail.

The verdict comes in the same week the ex-premier was sentenced to 10 years in the cipher case and 14 years in the Toshakhana case.

The file photo shows former premier Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi outside a court last year. — AFP
The file photo shows former premier Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi outside a court last year. — AFP

Published 03 Feb, 2024 03:45pm

MQM-P’s Faisal Subzwari urges govt to cancel weapon licenses till Feb 8

MQM-P leader Faisal Subzwari has urged the caretaker government to cancel weapon licenses till the Feb 8 general elections in a bid to control violence.

“The government should place a ban on carrying weapons,” he said while addressing a press conference in Karachi.

“They [PPP leaders] think they can win the elections with the use of weapons,” Subzwari remarked. “You cannot win the hearts of people here by building a few roads.”

Published 03 Feb, 2024 03:30pm

ECP postpones polls in NA-8, three provincial seats over death of candidates

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has postponed polls in four constituencies of the national and provincial assemblies due to the deaths of the candidates, APP reports.

The delayed elections impact one national constituency and four provincial seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. These seats are NA-8 Bajaur, PK-22 Bajaur, PK-91 Kohat, and PP-266.

Independent candidate Rehan Zeb Khan, running for the National Assembly constituency NA-8 and provincial assembly constituency PK-22 in Bajaur-IV, was assassinated, leading the ECP to cancel elections.

Additionally, elections for NA-91, Kohat-II, were postponed following the passing of Asmat Ullah Khan.

Following the demise of Israr Hussain, son of Talib Hussain and a candidate for the Punjab Assembly constituency PP-266 (Rahim Yar Khan XII), the ECP has postponed the elections in that particular constituency also.

The remaining contesting candidates will not be required to submit fresh nomination papers or deposit further dues once the revised schedule for these areas is released, as stated by the electoral watchdog.

Published 03 Feb, 2024 03:20pm

80pc polling stations in Balochistan declared ‘sensitive’: minister

Balochistan’s Interior Minister Zubair Jamali has said that over 80 per cent of polling stations in the province have been categorised as “sensitive,” with 34pc marked as “highly sensitive.”

Only 19pc of polling stations in Balochistan have been identified “normal”, the minister said in an interview with Dawn News programme “Doosra Rukh”.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Balochistan government has also barred political parties from holding rallies and corner meetings.

Published 03 Feb, 2024 03:00pm

PPP, MQM ‘trying to regain power through coercive measures’, claims JI leader

Jamaat-i-Islami Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman has accused the MQM and PPP of attempting to regain power through “coercive measures”, claiming that their popularity is dwindling among the public.

During a press conference in Karachi, Rehman asserted that the PPP is losing favour rapidly among Baloch and Sindhi communities. He claimed that the PPP is resorting to leveraging feudal influence as a strategy to remain politically relevant.

Jamaat-i-Islami Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman addresses a press conference in Karachi. — Screengrab
Jamaat-i-Islami Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman addresses a press conference in Karachi. — Screengrab

Published 03 Feb, 2024 02:41pm

Karachi situation may worsen on Feb 8 if sporadic violence isn’t contained: Saeed Ghani

PPP leader Saeed Ghani has expressed concerns that the situation in Karachi might deteriorate on Feb 8 unless proper measures are implemented to control sporadic incidents of violence.

During a press conference in Karachi, Ghani insisted that the PPP is committed to a non-violent approach, adding that elements apprehensive of facing defeat are attempting to disrupt the law and order situation.

Published 03 Feb, 2024 02:09pm

Bajaur police yet to register case over PTI activist’s murder

The local police have yet to register a case over the murder of Rehan Zeb Khan, an election candidate affiliated with PTI, who was killed on Wednesday.

Sources in the police and Rehan Zeb’s family told Dawn on Friday that the police had yet to lodge a case against the assailants involved in the attack, occurred in the Sadiqabad Bazaar.

A police official also confirmed to Dawn that a case of the attack was yet to be registered.

The official, however, said the case of the incident would be registered when the family members of the slain could submit an application for it. The official said efforts were underway to trace those involved in the killing.

Read more here.

Published 03 Feb, 2024 01:12pm

Zartaj Gul Wazir warns opposition not to harass, oppress PTI workers

PTI leader Zartaj Gul Wazir has given a strong warning to the opposition regarding harassment and arrests of her party workers.

“Remember this, if today the doors of my house and my workers’ houses are being broken down, then tomorrow the same can happen to you,” she said at a meeting in Dera Ghazi Khan.

Published 03 Feb, 2024 01:09pm

READ: Will PTI rise again from Karachi’s eastern horizon?

The PTI in 2018 elections enjoyed almost a clean sweep in district East of Karachi, winning all four National Assembly seats and eight out of nine Sindh Assembly seats.

But with the party facing serious challenges after May 9 violence, would it be able to repeat the history? It remains to be seen.

Read more here

Updated 03 Feb, 2024 01:37pm

We have more than ample resources available to ensure peaceful, free, fair elections: Murtaza Solangi

Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi has assured that the government has made arrangements to ensure the security and integrity of the process providing security to polling stations.

Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad, Solangi said a three-tier security system would be in place, starting with the police taking main responsibility, followed by civil forces, and then then the army.

“We have more than ample resources available to ensure peaceful free and fair elections on Thursday, February 8,” he said.

The minister acknowledged the speculations of elections being cancelled owing to weather and security concerns, as well as “Iran-Pakistan skirmishes”.

“The caretaker government has been consistent from day one about elections taking place,” Solangi added.

Flanked by foreign office spokesperson Mumtaz Baloch, Murtaza Solangi addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — Radio Pakistan
Flanked by foreign office spokesperson Mumtaz Baloch, Murtaza Solangi addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — Radio Pakistan

Published 03 Feb, 2024 12:50pm

ANP’s Swat district president addresses corner meeting

Ayub Khan Ashari, the Awami National Party’s (ANP) Swat president and candidate of NA-2, has addressed a corner meeting in Tehsil Khawaja Khela Bar Lakhar in connection with preparations for the general elections.

Published 03 Feb, 2024 12:10pm

PTI promises to establish truth and reconciliation commission if elected

PTI has promised to establish an “empowered Truth and Reconciliation Commission” if elected in the February 8 elections.

In a post on X, it said the commission would “identify mistakes and their causes on behalf of the nation in a period of 12 months and also determine the responsible parties”.

Published 03 Feb, 2024 11:46am

PPP to withdraw subsidies from aristocracy after coming to power: Hina Rabbani

Former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said if voted to power, the PPP would withdraw subsidies from the aristocracy and 300 units of electricity would be provided free of charge to the poor, APP reports.

Addressing an electoral gathering in Qasba Gharmani, organized for the PPP candidate and her brother Raza Rabbani Khar in NA-180, she said that the people of her constituency had made it possible for her to represent the country.

She promised to establish a university, nursing college, vocational school, and the latest hospital in Kot Addu.

She recalled that her father Ghulam Muhammad Noor Rabbani Khar had brought gas, electricity and roads to the constituency.

Her younger brother and PPP candidate Raza Rabbani Khar vowed to build the constituency into an exemplary area after being elected and will weave a network of development works in the constituency.

Published 03 Feb, 2024 11:30am

BNP-M’s Mengal says state institutions should stop ‘political interference’

Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal has said that state institutions need to stop their political interference that has “weakened democracy”.

In an interview with VOA Urdu, he said that political parties have made the democratic process a game of “musical chairs”, where they vie for a seat.

He said that while most people live with a false hope that elections might be free and fair elections, that had never been the case.

Published 03 Feb, 2024 11:13am

PTI vows to eradicate poverty by ‘up to 25pc’ if elected

The PTI has vowed that if elected to power, it would take initiatives to reduce the poverty level by “up to 25 per cent” through the expansion of its Ehsaas programme.

In a post on X, the party said it would provide loans and technical training to people living below the poverty line.

Published 03 Feb, 2024 10:55am

ECP completes all arrangements for general elections

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has completed all arrangements for the upcoming general elections on February 8, Radio Pakistan reports.

According to the report, over 120 million registered voters will cast their vote for the national and provincial assemblies. The ECP has established 90,675 polling stations in all four provinces.

Of these, 41,403 are combined polling stations while 25,320 are for men and 23,952 are for women voters.

A total of 5,121 — comprising 4,807 men, 312 women and two transgender persons — candidates are in the race for the National Assembly seats. The elections will be held on 266 general NA seats and 593 general seats in the provincial assemblies.

Published 03 Feb, 2024 10:33am

PTI shares list of NA candidates’ details

The PTI has shared details of its nominated candidates for the National Assembly for the upcoming polls.

With its candidates contesting as independents with different electoral symbols, the party shared the list of the names, constituency numbers and symbols in a series of posts on social media platform X.

Published 03 Feb, 2024 10:20am

READ: Combating disinformation requires careful balance between regulation

Phones rang in the state of New Hampshire ahead of primary elections. Joe Biden’s voice was heard over the line. “We know the value of voting Democrats. It’s important that you save your vote for the November election,” the voice said.

 Asad Baig.
Asad Baig.

“Voting this Tuesday only enables the Republicans in their quest to elect Donald Trump again. Your vote makes a difference in November, not this Tuesday.” Between 5,000 and 25,000 calls were made. The Biden administration never initiated any of those calls, and the voice was a deepfake — generated through artificial intelligence (AI) and mastered to sound like President Biden.

This example is part of a broader trend where AI-generated content was used to mislead voters during election periods. In Bangladesh, feeds of ‘international’ news channels were created using AI ahead of elections.

While imposing stringent laws or criminalising disinformation are pegged as solutions, such measures could inadvertently criminalise free speech and be used to suppress legitimate discourse. Therefore, the answer to combating disinformation isn’t as straightforward as ‘enacting a law against fake news’, or erecting a ‘national firewall’. It requires a careful balance between regulation and the preservation of free expression.

Read more here.

Published 03 Feb, 2024 09:30am

READ: Can independent candidates form a party’s parliamentary group to claim share in reserved seats?

Pildat president, Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, has analysed whether elected independent candidates can join to form a parliamentary group of a party that doesn’t exist in the National Assembly and claim a share in the reserved seats for women and minorities.

He took the case study of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) after the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, stating that after the 2019 KP elections for 16 general seats allocated to erstwhile Fata districts, three independent MPAs decided to join the BAP — a party which didn’t exist in the provincial assembly before.

He continued, “Based on the strength of three out of 16, BAP was allocated one of the four seats reserved for women. This was despite the fact that BAP had not submitted a priority list of its candidates against reserved women seats.”

However, he added that the party had an election symbol and was on the “right side of the power”.

“Sad that PTI has decided to defer its intra-party election and thus the quest for a symbol and reserved seats,” he said.

Published 03 Feb, 2024 09:09am

Upcoming poll will be ‘one of its kind’: BNP-M’s Mengal

Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal has said that the upcoming February 8 election will be “one of its kind”.

In an interview with VOA Urdu, he said that each election in Pakistan has had “quite different results from the previous one”.

He pointed out that Section 144 had been imposed in various cities, which made it difficult for parties to campaign: “Election and [Section] 144? This itself is a strange thing.”

Published 02 Feb, 2024 10:52pm

Want to replicate Sindh’s ‘health revolution’ in other provinces: Bilawal

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said his party wants to extend and replicate “Sindh’s health revolution” to the other provinces.

Addressing a press conference in Jacobabad, he said questions would be raised on where the PPP would procure money from for its aims and said the party would do so within the country’s current means and resources.

“Seventeen ministries should have been dissolved after 18th Amendment” but neither PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif nor PTI founder Imran Khan did that, Bilawal said.

He also said the time had come to curtail subsidies to the elites.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addresses a press conference in Jacobabad. — DawnNewsTV
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addresses a press conference in Jacobabad. — DawnNewsTV

Published 02 Feb, 2024 10:08pm

ECP notifies postponement of polls in NA-8, PK-22 and PK-91

The Election Commission of Pakistan has officially postponed the elections in three constituencies—NA-8 (Bajaur), PK-22 (Bajaur), and PK-91 (Kohat) —scheduled for February 8 due to the death of two candidates contesting in those constituencies.

As per the ECP notification, elections in PK-91 (Kohat III) have been deferred due to the death of candidate Asmatullah Khan. Similarly, polls in two Bajaur constituencies (NA-8 and PK-22) have also been postponed following the death of Rehan Zeb Khan.

“Fresh proceedings will commence after the general elections 2024 and the schedule for said constituencies will be announced,” the ECP added.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 09:29pm

Shangla police’s move to involve lady health workers in election duties sparks outrage

Shangla Police have issued an order instructing lady health workers (LHWs) to assume duties at polling stations for the Feb 8 elections, triggering discontent among the LHWs who see the assignments as “in contravention of the laws.”

Shangla District Police Officer Sajjad Ahmad Sahibzada has issued a list comprising the names of 270 lady health workers for election duties.

Shahid Khan, the provincial information secretary of the LHWs programme, told Dawn.com that the order contradicts the rules and laws governing LHWs.

He emphasised that as primarily housewives and not full-time government servants, LHWs should not be compelled to follow such directives.

Khan highlighted the vulnerability of LHWs as a suppressed and economically disadvantaged community, stating that they are often assigned duties without consideration for their job description and pay.

He noted the decision to hold a protest rally against these perceived injustices, asserting their unwillingness to work beyond their designated areas.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 08:42pm

Today is day for arrow to be buried: Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui has said that today is the day for “the arrow to be buried”.

Addressing an election rally in Hyderabad, he said: “This city has come to give a warning that today Hyderabad’s jiyalay have run away … Hyderabad has shown that day and dream which we have to see.”

Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui addresses a rally in Hyderabad. — DawnNewsTV
Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui addresses a rally in Hyderabad. — DawnNewsTV

Published 02 Feb, 2024 07:49pm

Lahore police finalise security plan for Feb 8 polls

An important meeting convened at Police Lines Qilla Gujjar Singh and chaired by Lahore Capital City Police Officer Bilal Siddique Kamyana finalised planning for the peaceful conduct of the upcoming general elections, APP reports.

A comprehensive review of security measures was undertaken. DIG (Operations) Syed Ali Nasir Rizvi presented a detailed briefing on the election process and security protocols for polling day.

CCPO Kamyana affirmed Lahore Police’s full preparedness for the orderly conduct of the elections as far as security was concerned. Emphasising a zero-tolerance approach, he declared that stringent action would be taken against jubilant firing and display of weapons during the election campaign and polling day.

The meeting mandated the acquisition of surety bonds from individuals with a history of longstanding enmity. The CCPO underscored that law-breaking elements would face firm measures during the election campaign.

He also directed supervisory officers to maintain constant communication with district returning officers, presiding officers, district administration, and all stakeholders.

Further, he stressed the importance of regular visits to polling stations, camp offices, and duty points to assess and ensure the adequacy of arrangements.

The CCPO instructed police officers and officials to remain vigilant until the completion of vote counting, ensuring the secure transfer of relevant polling materials. Any negligence related to duty would be met with departmental action, he warned.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 07:38pm

Akbar S. Babar proposes formation of committee to ‘restructure’ PTI

 PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar addresses a press conference in Islamabad on Friday. — Screengrab
PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar addresses a press conference in Islamabad on Friday. — Screengrab

PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar has suggested the formation of three-member committees, one from his side and the other from former premier Imran Khan’s side, to prepare a roadmap for restructuring the party.

During a press conference in Islamabad, Babar said, “I would form a similar committee, and the two bodies could draft terms of reference (ToRs) to proceed with the talks.”

“Holding transparent intra-party elections will be at the top of the list, followed by bringing transparency to the party and making efforts to guide the youth in the right direction,” he said.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 07:07pm

Fazl urges masses to wisely use vote for country’s future

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has urged the nation to vote for trustworthy and sincere leaders in the forthcoming general elections.

Addressing a public gathering in Tank, he said the JUI-F had always fought elements that threatened Pakistan’s foundation and promoted vulgarity among the youth.

Fazl said his party did not want enmity with anyone, but vowed that the JUI-F would not support any external agency aimed at weakening the country.

He further stated that his party’s manifesto was in accordance with Islamic principles.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 05:55pm

Pakistan needs a govt that provides unemployment, old-age allowance: Sirajul Haq

JI chief Sirajul Haq has said that the people of Pakistan need a government that provides unemployment and old age allowance.

“Anyone who doesn’t have a roof over his head should also be provided with a house,” he added while addressing a party rally in Punjab’s Gujranwala. “An ill person should also be given free medical treatment.”

Haq asserted that all this was possible if the country drifted away from an interest-based system to a charity-based one.

JI’s Sirajul Haq addresses a party rally in Gujranwala. — DawnNewsTV
JI’s Sirajul Haq addresses a party rally in Gujranwala. — DawnNewsTV

Published 02 Feb, 2024 05:40pm

Qaumi Watan Party prioritises health sector in election manifesto

The Qaumi Watan Party has unveiled its election manifesto, promising free and improved healthcare across the country.

It promised the establishment of various 24/7 Basic Healthcare Units (BHUs), free testing and medicines through a voucher system and one bed per 500 patients.

The party also promised a burn centre in every divisional hospital, and a burn unit in every district headquarters hospital.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 05:25pm

PML-N never indulges in ‘politics of accusations’: Maryam

PML-N Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz has said that her party refrains from engaging in the “politics of accusations” and competes only when it comes to welfare.

Speaking at a public gathering in Faisalabad, Maryam remarked that the warm reception given to Nawaz in the city made it seem as though he had never been absent for the past four years.

PML-N Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz. — Screengrab
PML-N Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz. — Screengrab

Published 02 Feb, 2024 05:24pm

Bilawal promises to work for nation without any expectations

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has promised to work for the nation without expecting anything in return.

At a rally in Shikarpur, the former foreign minister said Pakistan was bearing the brunt of infighting among politicians. and vowed to put an end to the politics of hate and division if voted into power.

“I will take care of you and expect nothing in return,” he said.

“It will rain arrows on February 8,” Bilawal added, referring to the party’s electoral symbol.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaking at a rally in Shikarpur. — DawnNewsTV
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaking at a rally in Shikarpur. — DawnNewsTV

Published 02 Feb, 2024 05:12pm

Nawaz vows to restore ‘pre-inflation era’ upon returning to power

Former premier Nawaz Sharif has said his political party is committed to restoring a period when inflation was effectively controlled.

Addressing a rally in Faisalabad, the elder Sharif expressed his belief that the country would be faring much better had his government not been ousted from power in 2017.

PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif addresses a rally in Faisalabad. — Screengrab
PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif addresses a rally in Faisalabad. — Screengrab

Published 02 Feb, 2024 05:06pm

‘Real youth’ stands with PML-N: Nawaz

In an apparent reference to the PTI, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has said the “real Pakistani youth” is standing with the PML-N and not with any other party.

“The real Pakistani youth, not the mummy-daddy one, is with us and that is why Nawaz Sharif loves you,” he told a party rally in Faisalabad.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 04:58pm

Shehbaz urges masses to vote for PML-N to ‘secure better future for youth’

Former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif has appealed to the masses to vote for the PML-N in Feb 8 general elections “to secure better future for the youth of the country”.

Addressing a rally in Faisalabad, the PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif said his party had undertaken several development projects in Faisalabad and would roll out similar initiatives countrywide, if voted to power.

Former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses rally in Faisalabad. — Screengrab
Former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses rally in Faisalabad. — Screengrab

Published 02 Feb, 2024 04:54pm

Aseefa promises welfare cards for people of Naushahro Feroze

Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari has promised public welfare projects such as youth and agriculture cards for the people of Sindh if the PPP emerges victorious in the upcoming general elections.

Addressing PPP supporters in Sindh’s Naushahro Feroze, Aseefa said she was campaigning on behalf of her brother Bilawal, who is eyeing the post of prime minister.

“PPP is fighting for you. We will bring welfare projects for you,” she said. “Vote for Bilawal on Feb 8 and we will solve all your problems.”

Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari speaks to PPP supporters in Naushahro Feroze. — DawnNewsTV
Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari speaks to PPP supporters in Naushahro Feroze. — DawnNewsTV

Published 02 Feb, 2024 04:15pm

Sindh govt declares Feb 8 as public holiday

The Sindh government has declared February 8 (Thursday) as a public holiday across the province in view of general elections.

According to a notification issued by the chief secretary, all offices, autonomous bodies, semi-autonomous bodies, corporations, Local Councils and private organizations/ institutions in the province except essential services and the departments and officers/officials engaged in election duties, will be closed on Feb 8.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 03:53pm

PTI changes its mind, reschedules intra-party polls after Feb 8 elections

A day after announcing the schedule for fresh intra-party polls, the PTI said on Friday it had decided to reschedule them for after the upcoming general elections over the “unfortunate security situation created by the administration” and concerns expressed by members.

After a long battle and marathon hearings last month, the PTI was stripped of its symbol when the Supreme Court upheld the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to declare the party’s internal polls as “unconstitutional”.

As a result, the party’s members are now contesting the elections as independent candidates with different electoral symbols, which has raised fears of horse-trading and floor crossing. The PTI also no longer has the right to reserved seats for women and minorities.

In another bid to reclaim its symbol, the PTI had decided to hold intra-party polls on Feb 5 during its general body meeting on Wednesday.

Read more here

Published 02 Feb, 2024 03:48pm

ECP staffers to perform duties in two shifts from Feb 8-10

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has fixed the election duties of its officers and employees for the general polls across the country on Feb 8, under which the staffers will perform duties in two shifts around the clock, APP reports.

“The authority has fixed the election duties of officers and employees for the general elections to be held on February 8,” the ECP spokesman told APP.

He said that ECP has issued a notification in which it conveyed the Terms of Reference (TORs) regarding grievance cell, media, social media coordination and monitoring.

The spokesman said that the staffers will perform duties in two shifts for 24 hours in a batch of four teams constituted for each constituency for conducting polls from February 8 to 10.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 03:00pm

WATCH: Bilawal says he is not celebrating conviction of ‘another PM’

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that he takes “no pleasure” in former prime minister Imran Khan’s recent convictions in the cipher and Toshakhana cases.

“I take no pleasure in Khan’s convictions, I am not celebrating the fact that yet another PM is convicted,” he said in a conversation with WION news.

“This sort of thing has become the way of Pakistani politics and I want to break this tradition to bring political and economic stability in the country,” Bilawal added.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 02:57pm

Economy cannot thrive in environment of fear, says JI’s Sirajul Haq

JI emir Sirajul Haq has said the first job his party would do if elected in the upcoming general elections would be to strengthen law and order in the country.

“Nothing, not even a bird, can thrive in an environment of fear,” he said in a podcast. “How will people do business when they are always scared?” Siraj asked.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 02:55pm

6,531 polling stations deemed ‘sensitive’ throughout Sindh, says minister

Sindh Caretaker Information Minister Ahmed Shah has said that 6,531 polling stations in the province were deemed “sensitive” due to security reasons.

Addressing a press conference in Karachi, Shah said 5,979 polling stations did not have security concerns.

He said that 115,030 police personnel, 7,000 Quick Response Force personnel, 998 policemen from the anti-encroachment department, 550 excise police officials, 282 anti-corruption officials, 400 from the forest department, 500 civil defence officials, 22,870 lady health workers, and 9,600 Rangers personnel would be on election duty.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 02:41pm

IB, ISI have plans to tackle security at Sindh polling stations: interim minister

Caretaker Sindh Information Minister Ahmed Shah has said that intelligence agencies including the Intelligence Bureau and Inter-Services Intelligence have made comprehensive plans to tackle any untoward incident at polling stations in the province.

People who try to steal votes will be disappointed, he said at a press conference in Karachi.

“We have clear-cut instructions from top to bottom,” he highlighted. “First line of defence is the police, the second line of defence is Rangers and the army’s Quick Response Force will also be nearby.”

Shah further assured that the army was standing behind the public, the interim government and the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Caretaker Sindh Information Minister Ahmed Shah addresses a press conference in Karachi. — DawnNewsTV
Caretaker Sindh Information Minister Ahmed Shah addresses a press conference in Karachi. — DawnNewsTV

Published 02 Feb, 2024 02:41pm

Observer team meets Islamabad police chief to discuss security for polls

The Commonwealth of Nations’ observation team for the upcoming polls has met Islamabad police chief Dr Akbar Nasir Khan to discuss security arrangements in the capital.

In a post on X, the Islamabad police said senior officials were present in the meeting, which was held in the Command and Control Centre established for the elections.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 02:25pm

‘Fighting for a principle’: Meher Bano Qureshi seeks support for father, Imran

Meher Bano Qureshi, daughter of PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, has urged supporters to speak up for her father and party founder Imran Khan, who she said have “given the ultimate sacrifice”.

Both Qureshi and Imran have been sentenced to 10 years in jail in the cipher case. Earlier this week, the former prime minister was also handed another 14-year sentence in the Toshakhana reference.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that we succeed in our mission to establish the rule of law and system of true justice in Pakistan,” Meher Bano said in a post on X.

She sought support for PTI-backed candidates across Pakistan, requesting the people of the NA-151 (Multan IV) constituency to “stand by their kaptaan and naib kaptaan by voting for the chimta on the 8th of February.”

“Inshallah [God willing] we will be victorious in this fight against injustice and cruelty,” she added.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 02:19pm

READ: ‘Hostage’ voters or game changers? The politics of (s)electables

With the Feb 8 general elections fast approaching, major political parties have scrambled to woo electables across Pakistan, trying to out-manoeuvre each other in a bid to boost their prospects post-Feb 8.

Over the past few months, the PML-N and PPP appear to have made decent inroads in Balochistan and south Punjab, which are ground zero for all electable contests ahead of a major election.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, whose PML-N now carries the tag of ‘king’s party’, visited Balochistan in November and managed to add over two dozen electables to his arsenal. The party also managed to secure a foothold in South Punjab by relying on electables.

Following in the footsteps of the Sharifs, the father-son duo Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also kicked off the PPP’s election campaign in Balochistan in a bid to make inroads in the province to some degree of success. The PPP also upped its presence in Punjab, intending to lure electables to improve its position in a province otherwise dominated by PTI and PML-N supporters.

Read full story here.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 02:15pm

Zartaj Gul challenges opponents to present manifestos in Dera Ghazi Khan

In an interview, former minister of climate change and PTI leader Zartaj Gul said that she wants to challenge her opponents to present their manifestos and their projects publicly.

She added that her party’s mandate is to provide equal opportunities to the people in Dera Khan Ghazi. She said her opponents have failed the people of Dera Ghazi Khan in the past.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 01:50pm

Electoral symbols meant to create negative bias: PTI’s Shehryar Afridi

Former federal minister and PTI leader Shehryar Afridi was incensed when he was issued the bottle symbol, AFP reports.

“Most of the PTI candidates, including myself, were given symbols that were meant to create a negative bias,” said the 45-year-old candidate for Kohat.

“We were deliberately given symbols that could be used to ridicule us.” Afridi took his case to the Peshawar High Court but won no relief.

“When we entered the field during the election campaign, we received so much backlash regarding the bottle symbol that it sabotaged our campaign automatically,” he said.

But the canny operator has tweaked his symbol. “A bottle doesn’t only represent alcohol, it also represents medicine,” he said. “That’s why we’ve transformed our electoral symbol into a medicine bottle — so that we can address all societal ailments.”

Published 02 Feb, 2024 01:49pm

ECP takes notice of code of conduct violations in election campaign

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has taken notice of the violations of the code of conduct during the ongoing election campaign and imposed penalties on several candidates, APP reports.

“The district monitoring officer in Kohat took action against violation of the election code of conduct and punished various candidates,” the spokesman of ECP told APP.

The spokesperson said an independent candidate Noor Aslam Afridi, contesting from National Assembly constituency NA-35, was fined Rs 5,000 while another independent candidate Fawadullah Khan Afridi from the same constituency was fined Rs 10,000.

He said that Awami National Party (ANP) candidate for provincial assembly Yaqoob Khan fined Rs 5,000. Additionally, independent candidate Janidullah Afridi from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was also fined Rs 10,000.

The spokesman said that the monitoring teams in different districts have removed illegal campaign hoardings, banners and other election promotion material.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 01:48pm

Imran asks voters to not be disheartened, says God is the ‘ultimate planner’

Incarcerated premier Imran Khan has said the purpose of the “hasty manner” in which the cases against him are being concluded is to demoralise the voters.

“You must not be disheartened, as Allah is the ultimate planner,” Imran, who is incarcerated at Adiala Jail, said on social media platform X.

“Our most powerful and meaningful weapon is that of our vote, and we must wield it to overthrow crooks who have been imposed upon us,” Imran said.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 01:47pm

Pakistan needs simple majority government for stability, says Shehbaz Sharif

Former prime minister and PML-N leader, Shehbaz Sharif, in an interview with Javed Chaudhry, said a simple majority elected government is needed for economic and political stability.

He added that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif would leave no stone unturned to make Pakistan a welfare state if elected premier for the fourth time.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 01:46pm

PPP’s Yousuf Raza Gilani greets PTI-affiliated candidate in Multan

Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani met an independent candidate affiliated with the PTI, Barrister Taimur Malik in Multan, who is also contesting the upcoming elections from the NA-248 constituency.

The video shared by Gilani’s daughter in a post on X showed the two politicians hugging as they bumped into each other during their election campaign in a market in Multan.

In the footage, Barrister Malik can be heard saying: “May God make Imran Khan successful.”

“This is the kind of politics we need in Pakistan,” Gilani’s daughter said. “Say no to politics of hate,” she added.

Updated 02 Feb, 2024 01:56pm

Not election but ‘cruelty’: PTI-affiliated candidate laments ‘embarrassing’ electoral symbol

Ejaz Gaddan romantically describes his constituency in the eastern Punjab province as his ancestral homeland — his people’s “final resting place”. Perhaps fittingly, he was assigned a symbol of a bed, AFP reports.

“They tried to humiliate us with the symbols they are giving us. Some candidates feel embarrassed telling people what symbol they have gotten,” the 50-year-old Bahawalpur candidate complained.

 Ejaz Gaddan
Ejaz Gaddan

“This is not an election, this is cruelty.”

Referring to his symbol ‘charpoy’, he said, “It is a very useful household item. When we are alive, the charpoy allows us to rest. When we die, it takes us on our final journey,” said Gaddan.

“My symbol is already available in every household. I don’t have to introduce it to my constituents.” Referring to the PML-N’s electoral symbol, he said, “The lion is a bloodthirsty beast. There is no place in our society for a beast.”

Published 02 Feb, 2024 01:22pm

‘Eggplant is now famous’: PTI-affiliated candidates assigned myriad of electoral symbols

Aamir Mughal brandishes an eggplant before a gaggle of voters, rallying support behind the Pakistani staple during an election campaign he says is being undermined by bizarre symbols assigned to candidates, AFP reports.

After the PTI was stripped of its electoral symbol of ‘bat’, its candidates are contesting the February 8 polls as independents with different symbols, scrabbling to make an impression on the campaign trail.

“The eggplant is now a famous symbol across all Pakistan,” declares the candidate for Islamabad, a follower of jailed ex-prime minister Imran Khan. “Now this has become the king of the vegetables.”

A spokesman for the Election Commission of Pakistan said the symbols are chosen from a list designed for independents and “are purely the prerogative of the returning officers”.

 This photograph taken on January 26, 2024 shows PTI’s Aamir Mughal (C) holding his electoral symbol ‘eggplant’ during an election campaign meeting in Islamabad. — AFP
This photograph taken on January 26, 2024 shows PTI’s Aamir Mughal (C) holding his electoral symbol ‘eggplant’ during an election campaign meeting in Islamabad. — AFP

Published 02 Feb, 2024 01:16pm

4 injured in grenade attack on election office in Quetta

Four persons have been injured in a grenade blast at the election office of a local political party — Mazloom Olsi Tehreek Pakistan — in Quetta, police said.

Quetta SSP Operations Jawad Tariq told Dawn.com that unknown motorcyclists lobbed a hand grenade at the party’s election office in Mulla Khel Abad area near the Southern Bypass and then fled.

“The grenade exploded outside the election office, injuring four pedestrians,” he said. “The office was closed at the time of the attack due to which people present outside the premises sustained injuries,” he said.

SSP Tariq added that police and the bomb disposal squad personnel had collected evidence from the incident and also cordoned off the area. He said a search was underway to nab the culprits.

Meanwhile, Edhi in-charge Zeeshan Idrees said all the injured persons were shifted to Civil Hospital with the help of locals.

He added that three of the injured were discharged after being provided medical treatment. Idrees added that the one remaining person, identified as Abdul Qadir, was taken to the Trauma Centre for further treatment.

 Election office of Mazloom Olsi Tehreek Pakistan in Quetta. — Photo provided by Abdullah Zehri
Election office of Mazloom Olsi Tehreek Pakistan in Quetta. — Photo provided by Abdullah Zehri

Published 02 Feb, 2024 01:09pm

Bilawal says Shehbaz was sabotaged by PML-N during PDM govt’s tenure

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that during the previous PML-N-led coalition government, ex-premier Shehbaz Sharif’s role was “sabotaged” and his authority was undermined.

In a podcast interview with Talha Ahad, he said: “I sometimes feel sorry for the man — Shehbaz Sharif sahib was sabotaged from within his own party.”

Referring to the super floods of monsoon 2022, the PPP chairman said the country had a “golden opportunity” to manage its economy and realign its development outline.

However, he went on to say, “The finance minister was changed, and then I saw how, unfortunately, the prime minister’s authority did not work in the same way after that in the finance ministry and a unique approach was taken for which I can give no justification.”

Published 02 Feb, 2024 12:57pm

Bilawal explains why he challenged Nawaz to public debate

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that he challenged PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif for a public debate as he is the candidate for the premiership.

Asked in a podcast interview with Talha Ahad why he did not challenge Nawaz’s daughter Maryam, Bilawal said he simply challenged someone who was his equivalent; Bilawal is the PPP’s candidate for the role of the prime minister while Nawaz is the PML-N’s.

“I have a lot of respect for Mian sahib and everybody but we have no personal issues,” the PPP chairman said.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 12:50pm

READ: Lower Sindh — a storied land of political dynasties

Sindh has remained under various dynasties ranging from Rai, Brahmin, Arabs, Soomra, and Sama to Arghuns and Tarkhans and from Mughals, Kalhoros to Talpurs etc in the past. Later, the British invaded Sindh, dethroning the Talpurs by ending their 60-year rule and shifting the capital from Hyderabad to Karachi.

The province is home to several political dynasties and the electoral history of every second district indicates that these families, be they the Shirazis, Syeds, Arbabs, Mahars or Makhdooms et al, have all been ruling the roost under civilian and military regimes to maintain a stranglehold on the system.

In a nutshell, it is perhaps inevitable for major political parties to woo them through their tickets to consolidate their positions in order to reach the corridors of power. These politically well-entrenched ‘electables’ opt for the best bargain to stay relevant in the ongoing game of thrones.

Read more here.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 12:35pm

READ: MQM-P may stage a comeback on Korangi’s three NA seats

Korangi is a relatively new district of Karachi division as it was created in 2013, after the May 2013 general elections, by the then government of the PPP. The district was carved out of Karachi’s East district.

Before the 2018 elections, the areas falling within the jurisdiction of district Korangi were always known as the stronghold of the once-unified MQM since it had won all NA seats during previous general elections, sans the one held in 2002 when it lost one NA and one PA seat to the Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H).

After the merger of PSP and MQM-P last year, it is widely believed that the MQM-P may stage a comeback in the Feb 8 general elections in Korangi as its main rival, the embattled PTI, is currently on a weak footing after it lost its electoral symbol ‘bat’ and currently facing difficulties in running an effective election campaign.

Read more here.

Paretabad is adorned with flags of different political parties as part of their election campaign, on Tuesday.—Umair Ali
Paretabad is adorned with flags of different political parties as part of their election campaign, on Tuesday.—Umair Ali

Published 02 Feb, 2024 12:26pm

JUP-N chief announces seat adjustment deal with PPP for Sindh

Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan-Noorani (JUP-N) president Sahibzada Abul Khair Mohammad Zubair has said he agreed on seat adjustment with the PPP for the Feb 8 elections in Sindh — particularly in Hyderabad — and Punjab after he failed to cobble together an alliance of like-minded religious parties.

He was speaking at a press conference along with PPP leader Sharjeel Inam Memon at the farmhouse of Waseem Rajput, a PPP candidate for NA-220, to formally announce the retirement of the JUP-N candidates, including himself, in favour of the PPP’s aspirants. Waseem Rajput, Ajiz Dhamra and Fareed Qureshi were present on the occasion.

Zubair said he, his candidates — including Rehman Rajput, Nazim Arain, Syed Mohammad Hassan and Mahmood Ahmed Qadri and others — would retire in favour of PPP’s candidates on NA-219 (Latifabad) and NA-220 (City) and their allies on provincial seats. He said he had tried to form an alliance of religious parties as a leader of Milli Yakjehati Council (MYC), but he did not get a positive response.

Read more here.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 12:25pm

Giving impression of polls being pre-decided is an insult to the people: Bilawal

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said, while referring to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, that even “giving an impression” of the result of the upcoming polls being pre-decided is “an insult to the people” of the country.

In a podcast interview with Talha Ahad, he said: “Even if that’s not true, just giving that impression is an insult to the people. […] Sure you have been the prime minister three times [but] tell us what you want to do.”

He criticised the former premier for “not campaigning” enough, saying it that affected the legitimacy of the upcoming general elections.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 12:10pm

Security apparatus in Sindh finalises plan to maintain peace during elections amid ‘high alert’

In view of escalating security threats ahead of the February 8 general elections, top officials of the provincial security and administrative apparatus assembled together on Thursday and reviewed the law and order situation in Sindh.

The inspector general of Sindh police, provincial election commissioner, additional IGP Karachi, special secretary of the home department, secretary of services and general administration, commissioner of Karachi and senior police, Rangers and intelligence agencies officials attended the meeting.

The meeting chaired by Director General of Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, Maj Gen Azhar Waqas was held at a time when several incidents of violence occurred in the province, including the death of a political worker in a clash in Karachi, which heightened fears regarding the upcoming polls.

The participants also took a detailed view of steps taken to ensure security during the polls and approved a strategy to this effect.

Read more here.

A policeman keeps a watchful eye on a city road on Thursday. —AFP
A policeman keeps a watchful eye on a city road on Thursday. —AFP

Published 02 Feb, 2024 11:54am

JI’s Hafiz Naeemur Rehman decries condition of public hospitals in Sindh

JI leader Hafiz Naeemur Rehman has decried the condition of public hospitals in Sindh.

Addressing a ceremony in Karachi, the party’s Karachi emir said the entire province relied on two hospitals — Jinnah and Civil — in Karachi.

“The condition of Abbasi Shaheed Hospital is very bad,” he said. “Many departments do not operate. The gynecology department has been closed for three months,” he said.

Updated 02 Feb, 2024 11:50am

Youth have faith in transparency of polls, says report

Half of the country’s youth believes that Feb 8 general elections will be transparent, however, they also think that the upcoming polls will not affect their daily lives.

These were the findings of a Voice of America (VOA) survey conducted by research company IPSOS.

In the survey titled ‘Political Participation and Landscape of Pakistani Youth’, 2,000 participants from 18 to 34 years of age, hailing from Islamabad and the four provinces, were interviewed.

The youth said that inflation was a major issue and they would cast the vote based on this issue. The majority of them were also in favour of sending the Afghan refugees back to their country.

Read more here.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 11:13am

PTI’s Taimur Jhagra says opponents putting up posters against him in Hayatabad

PTI’s Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra has said his election campaign posters in Hayatabad’s PK-79 were torn by his political rivals.

He then said that his opponents were putting up posters with derogatory remarks and allegations of corruption, claiming he was not involved in any such activity.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 10:45am

READ: Why Pakistan’s youth no longer believes in the sanctity of the vote

For Rehan Shamsi, 61, hope is a double-edged sword. A seasoned participant in Pakistan’s tumultuous political history, Rehan was but a 25-year-old engineering student in Karachi when the death knell sounded on General Ziaul Haq’s decade-long stint at the country’s helm.

Amid cheers of hope and merriment, Benazir Bhutto assumed the reins of power in the winter of 1988 — an event considered to be a critical inflection point in the country’s long, agonising crusade to democracy. It seemed the sun had finally dawned on a people downtrodden by decades of shattered promises and dead aspirations.

“I don’t think today’s generation understands the optimism that permeated the air in ’88. It was a genuine moment of hope. I know it sounds idealistic now, but you have to understand where we were,” reminisced Rehan. An active member of the National Students Federation and a worker of the Qaumi Mahaz-e-Azadi Party in the 80s, he vehemently believed in and campaigned for Benazir’s Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD).

Read more here.

Image created with AI
Image created with AI

Published 02 Feb, 2024 10:43am

Police raids target PTI candidate, activists in Jhang

Police raided night the residence of former federal minister and PTI candidate for NA-109 Sheikh Waqas Akram in Jhang to arrest him in connection with a case related to his alleged involvement in the May 9 riots. However, he was not found at home.

The police also raided the house of former Jhang city PPP President Mehr Qaiser Abbas but he was also not present.

Condemning the police action, Abbas, who recently joined the PTI, questioned the reason behind the raid, stating that his only “sin” is supporting PTI candidates.

Meanwhile, PTI leader Ali Raza Tippu in Jhang was arrested, though the details of the case remain unclear.

Read full story here

Updated 02 Feb, 2024 11:15am

READ: A whole new ball game for Kaptaan

Inspiring the PTI to victory in the 2024 general elections against heavy odds from inside a jail cell will be a whole new ball game for the party’s beleaguered founder.

Imran Khan now has a ‘hat trick’ of convictions on his record — two cases related to Toshakhana purchases and the much-touted cipher case.

Moreover, his party’s men and women have been deprived of their iconic ‘bat’ symbol, faced the rejection of nomination papers and kept away from political discourse. They continue to face the wrath of the powers that be for the May 9 mayhem, and are confronted with the problem of many stalwarts changing loyalties.

Now, the only hope for the legendary cricket star-turned-prime minister lies in people defying the odds and coming out to vote for his party’s candidates — albeit as independents — on Feb 8.

Read more here.

Imran Khan addresses an election campaign rally in Islamabad in 2018. — AFP/File
Imran Khan addresses an election campaign rally in Islamabad in 2018. — AFP/File

Published 02 Feb, 2024 10:20am

READ: Female candidates shaping public engagement in Punjab

This time, four females from Muzaffargarh, Kot Addu, and Layyah districts are contesting elections from different parties.

The noteworthy shift is that they are actively engaging with the public and addressing them daily to seek their votes. Earlier, only the family elders would run campaign for them.

The Muzaffargarh district holds the distinction of having elected female representatives in 1990, 2002 and 2008 elections. In 1990, Sumaria Rabbani Khar was elected an MPA in a by-election. In 2002, Hina Rabbani Khar and Khalida Mohsin reached the National Assembly after defeating their rivals and in 2008, Ms Khar retained her constituency. In 2018, the mother of former parliamentarians Basit Bukhari and Haroon Bukhari was elected an MPA.

Read full story here

Published 02 Feb, 2024 10:01am

READ: There is no real commitment to ensuring the right to education other than by PPP and JI

DO party manifestos show intentions? Going by past record, they do not. Hardly ever have parties adhered to manifestos. But manifestos do show what parties want the people to know or think about their intentions.

 Faisal Bari
Faisal Bari

Should party manifestos be judged on the basis of what is being promised or should there be some assessment of whether or not the promises are realistic and what plans, however rudimentary, have been shared about how promises will be fulfilled?

If we go with promises alone, a party with no intention of fulfilling them can promise the moon in their manifesto. If realism is the test, the more realistic plans will look too modest compared to those promising the moon.

The best option seems to be to have some idea of what the promises are, while keeping in mind our current position, and examining the ways parties are suggesting for fulfilling their promises. Since worked-out plans are not shared in manifestos, it remains a bit of a guessing game.

Read the full op-ed here.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 09:14am

Shehbaz seeks minority votes for party

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif has urged minority communities to vote for his party in the Feb 8 polls for the prosperity of the country.

Speaking at the representatives of the minority communities in Lahore, Mr Sharif said during his tenure as prime minister some unfortunate incidents against Christians (Jaranwala case) took place in which those involved were brought to justice.

He said the PML-N always had preferences for the minority communities representation in the lower and upper houses of the parliament and other assemblies.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 09:10am

Week-long holidays announced for schools, colleges in Islamabad

The public and private schools and colleges in Islamabad will observe week-long holidays starting this Saturday ahead of the general elections.

According to a notification issued here by the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, the schools and colleges in Islamabad—both public and private—will observe holidays from February 6 to February 9 and will reopen on Saturday, February 10.

Practically, the educational institutions will observe week-long holidays starting tomorrow, Saturday, followed by Sunday’s off.

Read more here.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 09:00am

Ten bomb, grenade attacks rock Balochistan

At least 10 bomb and grenade attacks have rocked different areas of Balochistan in one day, resulting in the death of one man, a provincial government official confirmed.

Several police stations and deputy commissioners’ offices were targeted in the attacks in which six people, including a police officer and a jail warden, were injured.

“At least 10 bomb and grenade attacks happened across Balochistan, including provincial capital Quetta,” the senior official told Dawn.

In the attacks in Quetta, Khuzdar and Turbat, the offices of PML-N and National Party, and a joint office of BNP-M and JUI-F were targeted with grenades. However, no loss of life was reported. The offices of deputy commissioners in Dhadar and Panjgur were also targeted with hand grenades.

Read more here.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 08:55am

PTI eyes ‘proxies’ to circumvent poll ban

After losing its electoral symbol ‘bat’ and possibly the reserved seats in the National Assembly, the PTI has approached four political parties, including religiopolitical outfits, in hope its ‘independent’ members will join these parties after the election, which will allow the former ruling party to retain its reserved seats through proxy measures.

In another bid to reclaim its symbol, the PTI has decided to hold intra-party polls on Feb 5, but the party leaders are not hopeful about the desired outcome.

It also believes the establishment will not allow any political party to gain a simple majority, and a ‘coalition government’ will be installed with strings attached. This was disclosed during a media briefing by PTI information secretary Raoof Hasan, also the federal election commissioner for the intra-party polls, on Thursday.

Read more here.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 08:40am

ECP says voting system can be run offline in case of internet disruption

Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja has told reporters that the ECP would use the Election Management System (EMS) despite voices of concern from political parties fearing a repeat of the 2018 Result Transmission System (RTS) fiasco.

He said the system would function even if the issue of internet connectivity arose on the polling day.

He said there was no discussion regarding the internet shutdown on the polling day but the EMS would work offline in case of internet service disruption.

Read more here.

Published 02 Feb, 2024 08:26am

JUI-F to support Chaudhry Nisar in NA-53

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) on Thursday announced support for former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in NA-53 and in return got support from him in the provincial assembly seat of PP-19 in the garrison city.

The decision was announced at a press conference by JUI-F district emir Dr Ziaur Rehman at Jamia Islamia Mosque Kamran Market, Saddar.