ISLAMABAD, March 14, 2013: The District Long-Term Observers (DLTOs) of the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) have identified at least 38 districts in February 2013 with political developments related to General Election 2013, including districts where election campaigns started before the announcement of the election schedule, says a press release issued by FAFEN on Thursday.
Most of these districts are in Punjab (18), followed by KP (13), FATA (4) and Balochistan (3). The DLTOs identified 23 significant political developments in Punjab, followed by 20 in KP, five in FATA and three in Balochistan. These developments include seat adjustments, new alliances, defections, rifts among and within political parties, and public meetings.
The developments pertain to several political parties and independent candidates. Parties included Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League (PML), Awami National Party (ANP), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Balochistan National Party (BNP), National Party (NP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).
FAFEN DLTOs observed 51 activities that can be construed as early campaigning and/or political developments related to the upcoming General Elections 2013. Observers recorded one-fifth of these activities (11, or 21%) by/related to PPPP in 10 districts, followed by PML-N with nine activities (17%) in nine districts, JUI-F with eight activities (16%) in seven districts, and PTI and independent candidates each with five developments (10% each) in as many districts. At least six other political parties – PML, ANP, JI BNP, NP and MQM – were involved in observed early campaigning or significant political developments.
Observers recorded almost half of these activities (23, or 45%) in Punjab, followed by more than one-third in KP (20, or 39%), five in Balochistan (10%) and three in FATA (6%).
FAFEN observers recorded 11 activities related to PPPP that can be construed as early campaigning or political developments related to General Election 2013. These activities took place in 10 districts of Punjab, KP, and Balochistan.
A total of nine election-related activities or developments of PML-N were recorded by FAFEN observers in as many districts in Punjab, KP, and FATA.
JUI-F was involved in eight political developments in seven districts of KP and FATA. The party held multiple public meetings in Dera Ismail Khan (KP) to discuss arrangements for a conference. In Karak, the party arranged public meetings, and initiated public contacts in Hangu. In Kohat and Lakki Marwat, prominent political figures announced joining JUI-F. In Bannu, a JUI-F stronghold, the party declared that Shah Mohammad will contest the provincial seat instead of Syed Hamid Shah.
In Toba Tek Singh (Punjab), the PTI chief met representatives of a student group, and a public gathering was arranged in Karak. The party also reportedly intensified youth mobilization in Mianwali. Following ECP orders for intra-party polls as a pre-requisite for contesting General Election 2013, PTI conducted polls in Gujranwala (Punjab) and Tank (KP).
In Kohistan (KP), an important politician joined ANP along with his family members and supporters. In Nowshera, ANP party workers have started submitting applications for getting party tickets to contest the General Election 2013.
In Kech, representatives of BNP and National Party met to discuss seat adjustment. In Panjgur, a National Party workers’ meeting was called to develop a strategy for General Election 2013. Both of these districts are in Balochistan.
In Kohistan (KP), two well-known political figures announced joining MQM. In Swat, Dost Muhammad and thousands of his supporters reportedly decided to switch from PML-N to JI. In Orakzai Agency (FATA), JI announced name of its candidate for the General Election 2013.
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