Election Intimidation and Harassment

The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) has deployed coordinators in more than 250 National Assembly constituencies across the country to observe all aspects of the election process. These observers send weekly reports to the FAFEN Secretariat based in Islamabad which uses the information to raise the issues with various stakeholders with a view to improving the quality of the electoral process.

This report is based on the information sent by FAFEN observers in 178 constituencies of the following 75 districts:

Sr. No. Province Number of  Districts Name of Districts




Gujranwala, Chakwal, Khushab, Kasur, Jhang, Faisalabad, Toba Tek Singh, Okara, Pak Pattan, Sahiwal, Bahawalnagar, Rahim Yar Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Multan, Attock, Rawalpindi, Khanewal, Lahore, Vehari, Layyah, Jhelum and Mianwali




Swat, Buner, Charsadda, Peshawar, Bannu, Haripur, Abbottabad, Khyber Agency (FATA), Dera Ismail Khan, Shangla, Chitral, Battgram, Swabi, Hangu, Lower Dir, Karak, Lakki Marwat, Malakand, Mansehra, Nowshera, Kohat and Tank




Jacobabad, Dadu, Khairpur, Sukkur, Naushehro Feroze, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, Hyderabad, Karachi West, Karachi South, Karachi East, Karachi Central, Malir, Umerkot, Ghotki, Kashmor, Matiari, Nawabshah, Tando Allah Yar, Tando Mohammad Khan and Thatha




Bolan, Nasirabad, Naushki, Kech/Turbat, Loralai, Gwadar and Awaran
5. Federal Capital 1 Islamabad



While these regular reports will be covering various aspects of the election process, this report highlights issues related to election intimidation and harassment. This report focuses on the role of police and intelligence agencies in the electoral process and provides information about incidents of intimidation and harassment of candidates and their supporters by these security agencies during the election campaign. Election Update-6 also gives some information regarding harassment of voters by candidates and their supporters.

FAFEN reports suggest that in most cases police and other security apparatus are acting in favor of candidates affiliated to the former ruling party. Police interference with the electoral process is particularly common in districts and constituencies where former ministers are contesting elections. Similarly, police are partisan in districts where any of the candidates is closely related to District/ Tehsil Nazims, who control the ward and watch functions of local police.

One of the most frequent complaints received by FAFEN is of police harassing candidates and/or workers of certain political parties by registrating cases against them. Cases are being registered against the workers and supporters of political parties who formed the opposition during the tenure of the previous government. In Muzaffargarh and Khanewal, for example, there are reports that workers of some political parties have been detained for charges such as theft and hooliganism. In Muzaffargarh the DPO reportedly contacted rival candidates of the former ruling party asking them to withdraw their candidatures. In Chakwal, FAFEN observers report that the police have deployed heavy contingents of

police around gatherings arranged by some political parties, which creates an atmosphere of intimidation and restricts potential voters from reaching the venue of campaign gatherings.

While rallies and public gatherings by the candidates of a certain party are being allowed, district police authorities are generally not permitting rallies and public meetings to candidates of some parties on the pretext of the imposition of Section 144. This is particularly common in Khushab, Dadu and Khanewal. Police in Khushab are also reported to have forced the Jamaat-i-Islami’s candidate to hand in a written undertaking that he wouldn’t hold any public meeting.

The following sections give detailed country-wide analysis of harassment and intimidation issues:

1. Police Harassing Candidates and Supporters

Reports of police intimidation of candidates have been received from 16 constituencies of 14 districts – six in Punjab, five in Sindh and one each in NWFP, Balochistan and Islamabad.

The districts where police are reported harassing candidates are Chakwal, Khushab, Faisalabad, Muzaffargarh, Khanewal and Lahore (Punjab); Peshawar (NWFP); Dadu, Naushehro Feroze, Karachi West, Ghotki and Thatha (Sindh); Nushki (Balochistan); and Islamabad.

According to FAFEN observers’ reports from 177 constituencies, police are harassing supporters of candidates in 18 constituencies of 14 districts – seven in Punjab, four in Sindh and one each in NWFP, Balochistan and Islamabad.

Police are harassing supporters of particular candidates in Chakwal, Khushab, Faisalabad, Muzaffargarh, Multan, Khanewal and Lahore in Punjab; Peshawar in NWFP; Naushehro Feroze, Kashmor, Matiari and Thatta in Sindh; Naushki in Balochistan; and Islamabad.

2. Police Supporting Candidates

FAFEN observers from 177 constituencies have reported that police are supporting a particular candidate in 33 constituencies of 19 districts – 12 in Punjab, five in Sindh and one each in NWFP and Balochistan.

The districts where police are reported to be supporting a particular candidate are Chakwal, Khushab, Kasur, Faisalabad, Okara, Muzaffargarh, Multan, Rawalpindi, Khanewal, Lahore, Jhelum and Mianwali in Punjab; Peshawar in NWFP; Dadu, Naushehro Feroze, Karachi South, Kashmor and Thatta in Sindh; and Naushki in Balochistan.

3. Security Provision by Police

According to reports from 121 constituencies, police are providing security to all candidates equally in 38 constituencies of 28 districts – 10 in NWFP, nine in Punjab, six in Sindh and three in Balochistan.

Police are giving security clearance to all candidates in Gujranwala, Jhang, Faisalabad, Okara, Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Rawalpindi, Khanewal and Lahore in Punjab; Kohat, Haripur, Shangla, Chitral, Battgram, Swabi, Lower Dir, Karak, Lakki Marwat and Nowshera in NWFP; Khairpur, Sukkur, Naushehro Feroze, Karachi East, Malir and Nawabshah in Sindh; and Bolan, Nasirabad and Loralai in Balochistan.

On the other hand, reports sent by FAFEN observers from 124 constituencies show that police are providing security only to a particular candidate in 12 constituencies of eight districts – four in Punjab, two in Sindh and two in NWFP.

In Punjab, police are providing security only to particular candidates in six constituencies of Khushab, Muzaffargarh, Rawalpindi and Jhelum districts. In NWFP, police are providing security to specific candidates in two constituencies of Swabi and Kohat districts, whereas in Sindh police are providing security to one candidate each in Dadu and Thatha.

4. Interference By Intelligence Agencies

FAFEN observers’ reports reveal that in 10 constituencies (in six districts of Punjab and one each in Sindh and Balochistan) the officials of intelligence agencies are intimidating candidates.

Such reports have come from eight constituencies of Khushab, Faisalabad, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rawalpindi, Khanewal, Lahore and Jhelum districts in Punjab; one constituency in Thatta district (Sindh) and one in Loralai district (Balochistan).

FAFEN observers have also sent reports from 12 constituencies of 10 districts (seven in Punjab and three in Balochistan) stating that officials of intelligence agencies are wooing support for a particular candidate.

Such reports have come from nine constituencies of Khushab, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Khanewal, Lahore, Jhelum and Mianwali districts in Punjab and from three constituencies in Nasirabad, Loralai and Gwadar districts of Balochistan.

5. Supporters Intimidating Voters and Destroying Election Material

From 17 out of 151 constituencies, FAFEN observers report that supporters of a particular candidate are intimidating and harassing potential voters in 15 districts. These 17 constituencies are situated in eight districts of Punjab, three districts each in NWFP and Sindh and one in Balochistan.

In Punjab, supporters of candidates are harassing potential voters in Faisalabad, Muzaffargarh, Multan, Rawalpindi, Khanewal, Lahore, Jhelum and Mianwali districts. In NWFP, such reports have come from Buner, Haripur and Swabi districts. Similar reports have been received from Karachi Central, Nawabshah and Thatta districts in Sindh and from Gwadar district in Balochistan.

According to FAFEN observers, supporters of a particular candidate are destroying election material of their rival candidates in five out of 150 constituencies in five districts (two in Punjab and three in Sindh). Such reports have been sent by FAFEN observers from Khanewal and Mianwali districts of Punjab and Sanghar, Nawabshah and Thatta districts in Sindh.

About FAFEN:The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) is a coalition of thirty leading Pakistani civil society organizations. It was established in 2006 to observe the election process, educate voters, and advocate for electoral and democratic reform.