Wednesday, February 27, 2008
The Pakistan government today closed corruption cases against Asif Ali Zardari shortly after the Supreme Court dismissed all petitions challenging Musharraf’s controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) promulgated last October, even as Zardari’s PPP and two coalition partners jointly demanded that President Pervez Musharraf immediately convene the National Assembly.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Makhdoom Amin Fahim, vice chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), appeared to have won support to be the party’s consensus candidate for the Prime Minister’s post at a meeting of its parliamentary party here today. The meeting, however, withheld the announcement of the name and authorised PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari to do that at an appropriate time.
|Asif Ali Zardari (left), widower of slain former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto, former premier Nawaz Sharif (centre) and Sharif’s brother Shahbaz Sharif attend a joint press conference after their meeting at Zardari’s residence in Islamabad where they decided on forming a government, late on Thursday night. — AFP|
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Defeat of a dictator
Leg up for democracy in Pakistan
THE people of Pakistan have sent out a clear message through the most keenly watched elections there. They strongly yearn for democracy. They have given a crushing defeat to the political forces associated with President Pervez Musharraf. The PML (Q), derisively called the King’s Party, which led the ruling coalition till the poll process began, has been mauled badly by slain leader Benazir Bhutto’s PPP and Mr Nawaz Sharif’s PML (N). The Musharraf-backed PML (Q) has been reduced to an insignificant third position with most of its stalwarts like party chief and former prime minister Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain suffering humiliating reverses. Musharraf’s religious ally Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Jamiatul Ulema-e-Islam has been routed in the NWFP, once considered its bastion. The Muhajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) of migrants from India, yet another group close to the former General, has more or less retained its base in Sindh, but could not prevent the PPP from emerging as the single largest party able to form a government independently in the province.
The PPP is the leading party at the federal level, too, but could not take full advantage of the sympathy wave sweeping every province of Pakistan after Benazir’s assassination. It can form a government in Islamabad only as part of a coalition. Ideally, the PPP and the PML (N) should come together to share power. Both fought the elections on an anti-Musharraf plank. But they seem to have different agendas and varying perceptions.
The two major parties have serious differences over the restoration of the judiciary as it existed before the dismissal of Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry in the wake of the imposition of the emergency. The PML (N) stands for the status quo ante to ensure the removal of President Musharraf, but this may not find favour with PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari. The latter has been hinting at reaching an understanding with President Musharraf, perhaps under Western (read US) pressure. This will, no doubt, amount to going against the wishes of the people of Pakistan, but who bothers about the voters’ aspirations once the poll results are out? It is time for realpolitik in Islamabad.
Restored judges to decide on Mush’s future: Sharif
|Bhutto’s PPP (87) largest party followed by Sharif’s |
|Opposition parties dealt a crushing electoral blow to allies of President Pervez Musharraf by winning enough seats to form a new government. Musharraf, however, refused to quit office even as his opponents urged him to resign.|
|Islamabad, February 19 |
Even as pro-Musharraf party PML-Q was today routed in Pakistan’s parliamentary polls which threw up a hung assembly, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) emerged the single largest party with 87 of 269 National Assembly seats for which elections were held while Pakistan Muslim League-N, headed by Sharif, two-time prime minister who was toppled in a bloodless coup by President Pervez Musharraf in 1999, got 66, providing a clear majority if they come together.
Record 11 women win
A step towards democracy: US
|Here’s waiting for you, mate: Nawaz Sharif relaxes after Monday’s results and (right) Asif Zardari of the largest gainer, the PPP. — AFP, PTI|
Monday, February 18, 2008
Mush loyalists trail
Bhutto, Sharif’s parties surge ahead
Afzal Khan and Agencies
The PML-Q may well be on way to utter rout as party president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and dozens of former ministers trailed behind their rivals. Former chief minister of Punjab Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, who was projected as PML-Q’s candidate for the office of Prime Minister was reported to be losing on two of the three seats that he contested from. Other former ministers facing defeat included foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri, Shaikh Rashid Ahmed, Liaquat Jatoi, Hamayun Akhtar, Faisal Saleh Hayat, Sakandar Bosan, Chaudhry Shahbaz Hussain, Ghulam Sarwar and others.
Islamabad, February 18
Initial results in Pakistan’s general elections today went against President Pervez Musharraf with several of his former ministers losing while opposition PPP and PML-N winning in their strongholds, Sindh and Punjab, respectively.
Well past mid-night, Chief Election Commissioner Qazi Muhammad Farooq announced the first official results of two National Assembly and one provincial assembly seats which were won by independents and the PPP, respectively.
According to other unofficial results aired by domestic TV channels, PPP’s Najmuddin Khan won from Dir district in the North West Frontier Province.
The CEC said Shaukatullah and Syed Akhuzada Chitan, both independent candidates from the northwestern tribal regions, were elected to the National Assembly.
Pakistan People’s Party candidate Shafiq Ahmed Khan was elected to the provincial assembly of Balochistan from a seat in Quetta, Farooq told a news conference.
|Jamiat Ulma-e-Islam leader Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman casts his vote at a polling station in Dera Ismael Khan. |
— Reuters photo
|Asif Ali Zardari, widower of Benazir Bhutto, casts his ballot inside a polling station in Nawabshah, 320 km from Karachi. — Reuters photo||Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif holds up his ballot paper and flashes the victory sign at a polling station in Lahore on Monday. — Reuters photo|
According to other reports PML-Q leader Shujaat Hussain, who was Prime Minister under Musharraf, was defeated by his PPP rival Choudhry Ahmed Mukhtar in the national assembly constituency in Punjab province.
Musharraf’s confidante and high-profile former minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, also of PML-Q, lost to PML-N leader Makhdoom Javed in a prestigious Rawalpindi constituency.
Rasheed, a seven-time winner from his constituency and a former railway minister in the Musharraf government, is also contesting for another Rawalpindi seat.
Zubaida Jalal, a former minister in Musharraf’s Cabinet, was defeated as an independent candidate for the National Assembly from Kech-Gwadar in southwestern Balochistan province by Yaqub Bizenjo of the Balochistan National Party-Awami. She was the education minister during 1999-2001.
These trends proved that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto and PML-N of Nawaz Sharif were together heading towards winning a clear majority edging past President Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s loyalist Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q).
“The PML-Q may well be on way to utter rout,” a party leader acknowledged as results poured in showing its president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and dozens of former ministers trailing behind their rival.
Former chief minister of Punjab Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, who was projected as PML-Q’s candidate for the office of Prime Minister was reported to be losing on two of the three seats that he contested from. On the third seat, however, he had only a marginal lead.
Javed Hashmi who spent six years in Musharraf’s jail on charge of treason was winning against Shaikh Rashid Ahmed in Rawalpindi and a PML-Q candidate in Lahore.
Earlier in the day during polling most of the voters stayed home for security concerns and the turnout was expected to be a little over 30 per cent. It was particularly very low in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) which has seen a spate of bomb blasts in recent weeks.
Sporadic violence was reported from across the country with nearly 20 deaths but authorities said it was far less than was feared and no major incident was reported from any part of the country.
President Musharraf cast his vote in Rawalpindi and struck a conciliatory note during a brief chat with mediapersons promising to work with whichever party won in order to ensure “a stable government for next five year”. He urged all parties to shun politics of confrontation and accept election results. He said he was committed to a policy of reconciliation.
The PPP, however, appeared to have virtually swept polls in rural Sindh while in Karachi and several other major towns in the province, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) of Altaf Hussain had almost an uncontested run with its traditional rival Jamaat Islami boycotting the poll. The PPP also did well in southern Punjab and was due to win reaonsably in NWFP and a couple of seats in Balochistan.
Former premier Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) that had vigorously carried out an aggressive anti-Musharraf and pro-judiciary campaign, sprang the biggest surprise in Punjab and Hazara division of NWFP. The Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI) of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the only major component of the religious grouping, the Muttahida Majlise Amal (MMA), which did not boycott the elections, seemed to be making only a modest showing in NWFP and Balochistan where it had swept elections in 2002 and formed governments.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
At the national level, Pakistan elects a bicameral legislature, the Parliament of Pakistan, which consists of a directly-elected National Assembly of Pakistan and a Senate whose members are chosen by elected provincial legislators. The Prime Minister of Pakistan is elected by the National Assembly. The President of Pakistan is elected by the Electoral College of Pakistan, which consists of both houses of Parliament together with the provincial assemblies.
In addition to the national parliament and the provincial assemblies, Pakistan also has more than five thousand elected local governments.
Pakistan has a multi-party system, with numerous parties. Frequently, no single party holds a majority, and therefore parties must form alliances during or after elections, with coalition governments forming out of negotiations between parties.
General elections, 2008
Main article: Pakistani general election, 2008
General elections are due to be held on February 18th 2008.
Presidential election, 2004
On January 1, 2004, Gen. Pervez Musharaf won 658 out of 1,170 votes in the Electoral College of Pakistan, and according to 'Article 41(8)' of the Constitution of Pakistan, was "deemed to be elected" to the office of President until October, 2007. 
Electoral College Vote, January 1, 2004 Legislature Seats Absent Abstained Against For
Senate 100 43 0 1 56
National Assembly 342 93 58 0 191
Punjab Province 371 110 7 0 254
Sindh Province 168 27 42 0 99
North-West Frontier Province 124 27 67 0 30
Balochistan Province 65 36 1 0 28
Totals 1170 336 175 1 658
Prime-Ministerial election, 2004
Shaukat Aziz was elected Prime Minister on August 27, 2004, by a vote of 191 to 151 in the National Assembly of Pakistan, and was sworn in on August 24, 2004.
Parliamentary elections and composition
Senate after February 2003 elections Party Seats
Summary of the October 2002 National Assembly elections % of popular vote Seats
Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam) 26.63 118
Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians 28.42 80
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal Pakistan
* Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan (Islamic Assembly)
* Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Assembly of Islamic Clergy)
* Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (Assembly of Pakistani Clergy)
* Tehrik-e-Islami (Movement for Islam)
Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Sharif) 12.71 18
Muttahida Qaumi Movement 3.55 17
* Sindh Democratic Alliance
* Millat Party
Pakistan Muslim League (Functional Group) 1.23 5
Pakistan Muslim League (Junejo) 0.93 3
Pakistan Peoples Party (Sherpao) 0.48 2
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Pakistan Movement for Justice) 0.62 1
Pakistan Awami Tehrik (Pakistan People's Movement} 0.76 1
Jamhoori Wattan Party (Republican National Party) 0.02 1
Pakistan Muslim League (Zia-ul-Haq Shaheed) 0.34 1
Pakistan Democratic Party 0.3 1
Balochistan National Party 0.2 1
Awami National Party 1.0 -
Pakhtun-khwa Milli Awami Party - 1
Independents - 3
Non-partisans (most joined one of the above parties) 14.1 21*
Female elected members (included in party seats above) . 60*
Minorities (included in party seats above) . 10*
Total (turnout 41.8 %) 342
Source: Election Commission of Pakistan & CIA Factbook
* Not included in total. Except for three independents, most of these are included in the party-seat numbers
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Election of 1947 - 1958
In the period between 1947-1958, there were no direct elections held in Pakistan at the national level. Provincial elections were held occasionally. The West Pakistan provincial elections were described as "a farce, a mockery and a fraud upon the electorate"  The first direct elections held in the country after independence were for the provincial Assembly of the Punjab between March 10-20, 1951. The elections were held for 197 seats. As many as 939 candidates contested the election for 189 seats, while the remaining seats were filled unopposed. Seven political parties were in the race. The election was held on an adult franchise basis with approximately one-million voters. The turnout remained low. In Lahore, the turnout was 30 per cent of the listed voters and in rural areas of Punjab it was much lower.
On December 8, 1951, the North West Frontier Province held elections for Provincial legislature seats. In a pattern that would be repeated throughout Pakistan's electoral history, many of those who lost accused the winners of cheating and "rigging" the elections. Similarly, in May, 1953 elections to the Provincial legislature of Sindh were held and they were also marred by accusations of rigging. In April, 1954, elections were held for the East Pakistan Legislative Assembly, in which the 'Pakistan Muslim League' lost, and Bengali nationalists won. 
1977 General Elections
On January 7, 1977, Prime Minister Bhutto announced snap elections, and the general elections to the provincial and national assemblies were held on March 7 and 10, 1977, respectively. To many, the quick election date was arranged so as not to give sufficient time to the opposition in order for it to make decisions and arrangements in regard to the forthcoming elections. The total number of registered voters in the country was put at 30,899,052.
On January 11, 1977, all major and some minor opposition parties had cobbled together an electoral alliance, the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA), to contest elections against Bhutto’s PPP.
The official turnout figure was 63 percent – if 19 uncontested seats were discounted, the turnout was 80 percent (the 'PNA' boycotted the Balochistan elections because of an ongoing military operation). The 'PPP' won 58.1 percent of all the votes that were cast, and 136 of the 173 contested NA seats. The 'PNA' won only 35.1 per cent of the vote and 36 seats. 'PPP' had already won 19 NA seats unopposed including the home seat of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in Larkana. The 'PNA' levelled allegations of massive vote-rigging and boycotted the provincial elections.
Seats Won in the 1977 Elections
Party Punjab Sind NWFP Balochistan Islamabad Tribal Areas Total
Pakistan Peoples Party 107 (93%) 32 (74%) 8 (31%) 7 (100%) 1 (100%) 0 155 (77.5%)
Pakistan National Alliance 8 (7%) 11 (26%) 17 (65%) 0 0 0 36 (18%)
Independent 0 0 1 (4%) 0 0 8 (100%) 9(4.5%)
Total Seats 115 43 26 7 1 8 200
 National Assembly General Elections of (1988-1997)
Party 1988 1990 1993 1997
Pakistan Peoples Party 93 44 89 18
Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) 54 106 0 0
Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) - - 73 137
Awami National Party 2 6 3 10
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)* 13 15 - 12
Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam (Fazlur Rehman) 7 6 - 2
Other Parties/Indepenents ** 38 30 42 28
Total Turnout 43.07% 45.46% 40.28% 35.42%
Total Seats 207 207 207 207
N.B: All elections were contested under a separate electorate system, the 1990 elections had allegations of vote-rigging confirmed by foreign observers. The 'MQM' contested the 1988 elections under the name Haq Parast group, it boycotted the 1993 National elections.
1. ^ Ahmed Rashid. "Pakistan's uncertain year ahead", BBC News, 2007-02-18. Retrieved on 2007-07-09.
2. ^ (See Pakistan Gives Musharraf Confidence Vote as President; New York Times; January 1, 2004)
3. ^ ('Report of the Electoral Reforms Commission', Government of Pakistan, 1956).
4. ^ Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Election site accessed feb 2007
5. ^ Source: 'Overseas Weekly Dawn' (March 13, 1977), reprinted in 'Shahid Javed Burki, Pakistan under Bhutto, 1971–1977' (London, 1980), p. 196.
6. ^ For more information, see "How an election was stolen" The Pakistan Democratic Alliance White paper on the Pakistan elections held in 1990. It was published by the weekly 'MID Asia', Islamabad, 1991.
7. ^ source Herald Election Guide/October 2002 p38
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