Stories about elections

Why Pervez Musharraf is Chitral’s hero

Despite the boycott of the 2013 general elections by the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), the party managed to get two seats (one national and one provincial) from the constituency of Chitral under special permission to contest the elections from its party’s president, Pervez Musharraf. This victory for the APML in Chitral proved yet another time that the common people never forget leaders who give prime importance to their demands and are keen to serve the people at all costs. Chitral is a far-flung area in the north of Pakistan with scenic beauty and breath-taking picnic spots located all over the ...

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Sindh local government elections: Bureaucrats have no place in politics

The upcoming local government elections could provide an opportunity to address issues of governance in Karachi provided the local governance system is strengthened to compensate for the division of the province into a rural and an urban part.  A discussion on these issues is normally framed in terms of the political parties involved. Unless some structural issues are addressed, a change in political parties would only be a change at the margin. One of the problems with Sindh is that it is the only province in Pakistan where a distinction has been made between urban and rural areas. An unintended consequence of this is that ...

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Jamshed Dasti: We get it, you are powerful.

I wrote my first blog for The Express Tribune about two years ago. I wrote it with high expectations, wrote it with all my heart and wrote it with the hope that the readers would feel it resonate with their daily lives. The comments surprised me to no end. How could the average man think that people in power deserve privileges that defy the norms of decency? Maybe it is just the first instinct of every reader to say, “No, you’re wrong, here’s what I think and clearly my opinion is better and your blog deserves a place in the lowest rungs of ...

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Musharraf trial: Is this really the most pertinent problem for Pakistan?

Musharraf being tried for treason is a shame. It is a shame in much the same way that he wasn’t allowed to contest elections while other ‘leaders’, many of them with criminal charges outstanding against their names, were permitted. It is a shame because we let people accused of corruption become leaders of the country, industrialists become prime ministers and journalists become cricketing board chiefs. I’m not here to pass a judgement on Musharraf. My issue is with the principle at hand. If Musharraf has been tried for treason then there is an extensive list of politicians that also deserve some, if not more, ...

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PTI’s alliance with JI: When a move to the right is not the right move

Now that the election euphoria is subsiding and the calls for voting have been replaced by allegations of vote-rigging, idealism has given way to pragmatism and we see signs of practical politics emerging. PML-N’s statements on not curtailing Zardari’s presidential term and consideration of Imran Khan as a possible candidate for Public Accounts Committee chairmanship signify that political acumen can trump reactionary impulses. Decisions of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on seat retention also show that the party is not letting blind optimism guide its choices. Imran Khan’s retention of NA-56, in addition to barring Hanif Abbasi from becoming a contender, will provide ...

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I was asked to rig the ballot as a polling officer in 2008

In the general elections of 2008, I was assigned the duty of managing a polling station. It was the first time that I was summoned (of course unwillingly) to conduct polling in a remote village area. I knew this job was not a piece of cake and I prepared myself for anything unexpected. Since I did not have any strong connections, I was obliged to do the job. One day before the polling, I was called in court to collect the polling material and meet with the rest of the staff members. My court orders clearly mentioned that I had the ...

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PPP’s political campaign: Old footage doesn’t impress me

The pre-election time almost feels like walking through a busy bazaar, with each vendor calling out to grab your attention.  It is just that; candidates too are trying to sell us something. Flyers, banners, billboards and flags of political parties take the city and media by storm. Music is launched and adverts are created, all in hopes of roping in as many supporters as possible. The real question to ask is, will we buy it? Here is my take on the worst political ads that have taken over our television screens this election season: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) ad:  “Kal bhi Bhutto zinda ...

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Do we even have a leader to vote for?

In my 20 years of life, I have never seen such a level of excitement amongst people to vote, especially when nothing has changed. The political parties are the same, their members are the same and the leaders are also the same. Some of the parties contesting have already had the opportunity to rule Pakistan and their performance is there for all to see. The other two, supposedly the ‘underdogs’ and extensively branded as the ambassadors of the much-needed and labelled ‘inevitable’ change, don’t seem to be too promising either. Former army chief Pervez Musharraf, who reigned the country for eight ...

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Hazara’s electoral politics

With the elections around the corner, many proponents of the Tehreek-e-Sooba Hazara — who vociferously demanded a separate province for the inhabitants of Hazara when the name of the erstwhile NWFP was changed to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa — have joined mainstream political parties. This switching over and ditching game played by the champions of the peoples’ rights has literally left the Hazarawals in the lurch. They are now groping in the dark as to who to support as it is not clear who will promote their cause for a separate Hazara province in the best possible manner. The inhabitants of Hazara lack direction as ...

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Badam Zari: The first Pakistani tribal woman to stand for elections

The much-vaunted democratic transition has taken place in Pakistan. Caretaker set-ups have settled in the centre and the provinces are to hold free and fair elections.  Similarly, candidates have also swung into motion, filing nomination papers, appearing before the Election Commission staff for pre-poll scrutiny and, most important of all, arranging funds for the election campaign. However, one event stands apart, amidst the din and uproar, of the initial phase of the election campaign: A female candidate has filed nomination papers to stand for NA-44 constituency, falling in Bajaur Agency. Badam Zari has made history by daring to move out of the confines of ...

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