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 quality of electoral process.
This report is based on the information sent by FAFEN observers in 195 constituencies of the following 75 districts during until December 10, 2007:
|Sr. No.||Province||Number of Districts||Name of Districts|
|1.||Punjab||25||Gujranwala, Chakwal, Mandi Bahauddin, Hafizabad, Sargodha, Kasur, Jhang, Faisalabad, Toba Tek Singh, Okara, Pak Pattan, Sahiwal, Bahawalnagar, Rahim Yar Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Multan, Attock, Rawalpindi, Khanewal, Lodhran, Lahore, Vehari, Jhelum and Mianwali.|
|2.||NWFP||22||Swat, Buner, Charsadda, Mardan, Kohat, Peshawar, Bannu, Haripur, Abbottabad, Khyber Agency (FATA), Upper Dir, Shangla, Chitral, Battgram, Swabi, Hangu, Lower Dir, Karak, Lakki Marwat, Malakand, Mansehra and Nowshera.|
|3.||Sindh||21||Jacobabad, Dadu, Khairpur, Sukkur, Naushehro Feroze, Badin, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, Hyderabad, Tharparkar, Karachi West, Karachi South, Karachi Central, Malir, Umerkot, Kashmor, Matiari, Nawabshah, Tando Allah Yar, Tando Mohammad Khan and Thatha.|
|4.||Balochistan||6||Lasbela, Jaffarabad, Jhal Magsi, Naushki, Gwadar and Kharan|
While these regular reports will be covering various aspects of the election process, this report provides an update of 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-7 also gives some information regarding harassment of voters by candidates and their supporters.
FAFEN reports suggest that police and other security apparatus is generally being used in favor of candidates affiliated to the former ruling party. Police interference with the electoral process is particularly common in districts and constituencies where any of the former ministers are contesting elections and in districts where any of the candidates is closely related to District/Tehsil Nazims.
The following sections give detailed country-analysis:
- Police Partisan Action and Harassing Candidates and Supporters
Reports of police intimidation of candidates have been received from 18 constituencies of 11 districts – eight in Punjab and three in Sindh. The districts where police are harassing candidates are Gujranwala, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Rahim Yar Khan, Muzaffargarh, Multan, Rawalpindi and Lahore in Punjab and Jaccobabad, Dadu and Thatta in Sindh.
According to FAFEN observers’ reports, police are harassing supporters of candidates in 19 constituencies of 10 districts – eight in Punjab and two in Sindh. Police are harassing supporters of particular candidates in Gujranwala, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Rahim Yar Khan, Muzaffargarh, Multan, Khanewal and Lahore in Punjab and Jaccobabad and Thatha in Sindh.
Similarly, FAFEN observers from 195 constituencies have reported that police are supporting a particular candidate in 35 constituencies of 18 districts – 14 in Punjab and four in Sindh. The districts where police are reportedly supporting a particular candidate are Chakwal, Mandi Bahauddin, Sargodha, Kasur, Faisalabad, Okara, Rahim Yar Khan, Muzaffargarh, Multan, Rawalpindi, Khanewal, Lahore, Vehari and Jhelum in Punjab and Dadu, Karachi South, Umerkot and Thatha in Sindh.
Specific examples of police partisanship include the following:
- According to reports from Thatta, police teams have raided houses and offices of candidates and their supporters in order to recover bank loans.
- In some constituencies, it has been observed that police are supporting a particular candidate by not registering legitimate cases against him or his supporters.
- A FAFEN observer from a Sargodha constituency reported that the police used batons against people who had gathered to attend a corner meeting of a candidate.
- In Muzaffargarh district, the district police officer (DPO) summoned a candidate and some of his supporters to a park and asked them to withdraw in favor of a PML-Q candidate.
- Provision of Security
According to reports from 195 constituencies, police are providing security to all candidates in 47 constituencies of 31 districts – 12 in NWFP, 10 in Punjab, eight in Sindh and one in Balochistan. Police are giving security clearance to all candidates in Hafizabad, Jhang, Faisalabad, Toba Tek Singh, Okara, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Vehari in Punjab; Mardan, Kohat, Bannu, Haripur, Khyber Agency (FATA), Upper Dir, Shangla, Swabi, Lower Dir, Karak, Lakki Marwat and Nowshera in NWFP; Khairpur, Sukkur, Naushehro Feroze, Badin, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot, Nawabshah and Thatha in Sindh; and Jhal Magsi in Balochistan.
On the other hand, reports sent by FAFEN observers show that police are providing security only to a particular candidate in 16 constituencies of 14 districts — seven in Punjab, five in Sindh and two in NWFP. In Punjab, police are providing security to particular candidates in seven constituencies of Kasur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Multan, Khanewal, Lahore and Jhelum in Punjab; Kohat and Swabi in NWFP; and Jacobabad, Dadu, Sukkur, Tando Mohammad Khan and Thatha in Sindh.
Examples of partisan provision of security include the following:
- FAFEN observers reported that in some constituencies, the police are providing protocol to the candidates who were ministers in the cabinet of former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.
- Former foreign minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri is moving in his constituency with official protocol. The reports from Kasur revealed that police were forcing traders and members of the market committees to display the banners of the PML-Q candidates.
- 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.
- Intimidation and Partisan Action By Intelligence Agencies
FAFEN observation reports reveal that in nine constituencies (five districts of Punjab and one each in Sindh and NWFP), officials of intelligence agencies are intimidating some candidates. Such reports have come from Chakwal, Faisalabad, Dera Ghazi Khan, Lahore and Jhelum in Punjab; Khyber Agency (FATA) in NWFP; and Thatta in Sindh.
FAFEN observers have also sent reports from 18 constituencies of 10 districts (seven in Punjab, two in Sindh and one in NWFP) stating that officials of intelligence agencies are wooing support for a particular candidate. Such reports have come from Sargodha, Jhang, Faisalabad, Rahim Yar Khan, Khanewal, Lahore and Jhelum in Punjab; Mardan in NWFP; and Jaccobabad and Thatta in Sindh.
- Partisan Activists’ Intimidation, Destruction of Election Materials, and Violence
FAFEN observers have reported that supporters of a particular candidate are intimidating and harassing members of the public in 17 constituencies. These constituencies are situated in six districts of Punjab and three districts each in NWFP and Sindh. Supporters of candidates are harassing people in Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Faisalabad, Khanewal, Lahore and Jhelum in Punjab; Buner, Peshawar and Swabi in NWFP; and Malir, Nawabshah and Thatha in Sindh.
According to FAFEN observers, supporters of a particular candidate also are destroying election material of their rival candidates in nine constituencies of eight districts (three each in Punjab and Sindh and two in NWFP). Such reports have been sent by FAFEN team members from Faisalabad, Dera Ghazi Khan and Muzaffargarh in Punjab; Mardan and Peshawar in NWFP; and Sanghar, Nawabshah and Thatta in Sindh.
According to the FAFEN reports, minor incidents of election-related violence have been reported from six constituencies of five districts – two each in Punjab and NWFP and one in Sindh. The violence incidents have been reported from Pak Pattan and Lahore districts in Punjab; Peshawar and Khyber Agency (FATA) in NWFP; and Thatta 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.
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