JUL 2, 2018: “Whoever” wins the July 25 election would have to talk to the PPP to form the next government, said Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari on Monday. He believed that independent candidates who had left the PPP, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, would win many seats in Punjab. “It is expected that a sizable number of independent candidates would be elected in Punjab which would also play their due role in this regard.” Zardari said Imran Khan had already shut all the doors by announcing that he would not make coalition with the PPP to form the government. The former president said coalition government was possible but issue of leading the coalition would arise. He said the PPP candidate for prime minister was Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, however he could also be the opposition leader, if the PPP could not manage to form the government, adding that after general election 2018, he was not foreseeing political stability in the country. Zardari who is contesting from NA-213 Termed the arrest of his close aide near his home in Nawabshah a “message”, Zardari denied that he made a tacit deal with the establishment. “Ismail [Dahiri] would not have been arrested if I had made a deal with someone. Rather arrests would have been made on my instructions [if I had a deal],” said Mr Zardari in an interview with Geo News. The former adviser to the chief minister and a close aide to Mr Zardari, Mr Dahiri, had been arrested at his house by the personnel of paramilitary force, Pakistan Rangers, a few days ago and a large cache of illegal weapons was recovered from his possession. He’s being investigated for forcibly occupying lands of others. “Someone has shown [his] love by arresting him in my hometown,” Mr Zardari said, adding that every such act was actually a message.
11,855 in the run for 849 NA, PA seats – a drop from 2013 elections
Data released by the Election Commission of Pakistan shows the number of contestants for the upcoming elections has decreased compared to 2013. There are 11,855 candidates in the run for 849 general seats of national and provincial assemblies after withdrawal of nominations and scrutiny by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). This time, a total of 3,459 candidates — 1,623 from Punjab, 824 from Sindh, 725 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 287 from Balochistan — are in the run for the 272 general seats of the national assembly. The ECP data of election for general seats of provincial assemblies shows that a total of 4,036 candidates will fight for 297 general seats of the Punjab Assembly; 2,252 candidates will contest 130 general seats of the Sindh Assembly; 1,165 will compete for 99 KP Assembly seats and 943 will vie for 51 general seats of the Balochistan Assembly. In 2013 general polls there were 15,629 candidates — 4,671 for national assembly and 10,958 for provincial assemblies.
PTI Balochistan president ineligible to contest elections, high court rules
Over 1,000 candidates in Balochistan are vying for a total of 51 provincial assembly seats and more than 300 for 16 NA seats. The Balochistan High Court (BHC) on Tuesday ruled that the provincial president of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind, is not eligible to contest the July 25 elections. A day earlier, a divisional bench of the BHC had upheld the disqualification of PPP’s provincial president, Ali Madad Jattak, who was vying for the PB-31 seat in Quetta. Jattak had been disqualified by appellate tribunal of the BHC and RO for being convicted in a fake degree case. The same divisional bench also disqualified former provincial minister Mir Faiq Ali Jamali from participating in the poll. The Constitution bars convicts in certain cases from contesting elections unless a period of five years has lapsed since their release. Deciding another poll-related appeal, the BHC disqualified ex-provincial minister Behram Khan Achakzai from the election race. In doing so, the high court upheld the decisions of the RO and appellate tribunal, which had declared him ineligible over his involvement in a corruption case. In a separate development, the Balochistan government has devised an expansive security plan to avert any untoward incident during the forthcoming elections in the province that has been plagued by violence for more than a decade.
MQM-Pakistan condemns arrest of party candidate by NAB over corruption charges
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Tuesday condemned the arrest of its election candidate and former Karachi Port Trust (KPT) chairman Javed Hanif from his residence on Tuesday by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Javed Hanif’s only crime is providing jobs to Karachi’s (940) youth,” MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said in a press conference that was called to welcome Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) members who returned to the MQM-P fold. Siddiqui said the arrest of Hanif, who is contesting the upcoming general elections from PS-95 Korangi constituency, was an attempt to influence elections and requested the army chief to take notice of the action. Responding to the presser, NAB denied the allegations, saying the arrest was not politically motivated. The bureau’s spokesperson said that an inquiry against Hanif was initiated three years ago when he was not associated with any political party.
Political leadership facing terrorism threats ahead of general elections: Nacta
The political leadership of the country is facing terrorism threats ahead of general elections, an official from the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) told the Senate Standing Committee on Interior on Tuesday. There were reports of 12 threats, six of which were posed towards certain personalities, the official informed the committee. The official added that the information was passed on to the counter-terrorism body by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). He explained that the threat alerts are issued after “proper working”. “[Reports of] threats are not considered on a primary level,” he said. The Nacta official further said that the information has been passed on to the interior department, provincial governments and inspector generals of police of all provinces.