- JUI-F a party of the ruling coalition has withdrawn in favor of MQM in Karachi and Sukkur. JUI-F a party of the ruling coalition [yet claiming to be in opposition] Also….several candidates from these parties in Sukkur announced support for each other in various PS seats this morning (KTN News)
- While there is reports of three rockets being fired in Jacobabad over a minor feud
SMS Update @ 1545: PML-Q ransack ten polling agents
SAC member Ahmed Iqbal reports from Narowal that PML-Q leagues armed gang members ransack ten poling stations, staff being harassed and PML-N agents thrown out
SMS Update @ 1530: SAC Member offered bribe
SAC Lahore member Asif Mulick reports that supporters of Abdul Aleem offered him a Rs 2000 in cash to vote at Queen Mary polling station.
Beyond Belief: My first Pakistani voting experience – Narration from a Voter who witnessed cheating
In NA-251 & PS-115 at PECHS Girls College, Karachi
Reported on the People’s Resistance network
The dhandli [cheating] I witnessed in the five minutes it took me to cast my first Pakistani vote was beyond even what a cynical person like myself could have imagined. I laughed in the face of its blatant-ness and had many who joined in, albeit, for entirely different reasons.
As we walked in, my NIC number was recorded on the left stub of my vote, and I was handed a sheet that had already been torn out from the book, so the vote I cast wasn’t the one that corresponded with my NIC number. I don’t know if that matters, but when I asked about the discrepancy, I was told it did not.
Then came the coercion (in a slightly intimidating way, if that makes any sense) to stamp the ‘Patang’. The woman voting before us, asked where she could vote? She was told, ‘right here on the table’, but she asked for privacy and was shown the flimsy cardboard screen.
While waiting my turn to stamp my vote, I saw one of the two women, who had made themselves comfortable enough in the room, get up and proceeded to stamp four white ballot papers in quick succession, before adding them in to the transparent ballot box for the provincial assembly. Her associate then did the same. I gaped in complete disbelief, and asked who the votes were from, and the presiding officer who was seated right in front of the ballot box, laughed and said, ‘yeh votes Allah ki tarf say hain’ [These votes are from Allah.]. Outraged by the unabashed dhandli, I asked why I had bothered to come and vote.
The ballot paper itself was disappointing because it didn’t leave the vote confidential, the stamp showed right through the paper!! So the extremely biased polling agents and presiding officers knew our vote,and yes only one party seemed to be represented. I was leaving in disgust after I voted when they asked me to have my thumb marked, and one of the presiding officer cheekily remarked, ‘Iin ko mat lagao, yeh tow wapas aa kar vote karain gee’, [‘Don’t mark her thumb, she’ll be back to vote again.’]
I left saying ‘nahin, aap daal deyna mairee taraf say’. [‘No, you are welcome to vote on my behalf’]
So even though, I am no political analyst or soothsayer, I can tell you that the ‘Patang’ will win in my constituency.
Summary of events at 1518 PST
- 10 people killed so far today. Many injured.
- Blatant rigging.
- News of “staged” voting in front of foreign election observers
- News of abductions (atleast 4 PML-N workers’ abduction confirmed)
- TV Channel’s barred from conducting their own exit polls to verify the accuracy of the compiled results and not allowed to broadcast results without being “issued” by the agents of the election commission.
- Many people complaining that they are not on the voter list including 2 close friends who have searched every polling station in their constituency.
- Feuds in many polling stations.
- Polling suspended in some regions (one was requested by Fatima Bhutto)
This is Musharraf’s “mother of all elections”!
SAC Hold Mock Elections in Lahore
Members of the Student Action Committee had planned to hold mock elections in front of the Lahore High Court, reaching there early morning the police prevented them to setup camp but they instead continued the mock elections at another location. The turnout was massive with over 812 voters.
Votes Against Musharraf = 782
Votes For Musharraf = 24
TOTAL Vostes Casted = 812
Courtesy SAC Referendum Cell, Lahore
Election begins with rigging, violence and trouble
Not coming as much of a surprise, election starts off rather unpleasantly.
Two friends who registered to vote in Islamabad went early to the polling station to find out that their names were missing from the designated polling station.
Last night PML-N candidate Ch Asif Ashraf was assassinated in Lahore. In addition an MQM candidate was fired at in Quetta. Much violence has been reported across the country especially in Balochistan.
Details to follow…
Street Theater by People’s Resistance
This Street Theater Play was enacted by the members of People’s Resistance back in late December, we were supposed to upload it soon after but the events of Dec 27th and the assassination of Benazir Bhutto put our plans in check. This was the first session of the play, since then the Street Theater team has had many showings on the streets of Karachi and we hope to bring online the much improved and revised version of the play. The pictures of the street theater can be seen here
Media Restrictions Undermine Election: Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch issues a statement on the restriction on the media, similarly Hamid Mir also shared his concerns just a day earlier in a letter to journalists of PFUJ.
Threats and censorship against the independent media, bias in state television, and a widespread ban on live broadcasting are limiting the public’s right to information as Pakistan goes to the polls, Human Rights Watch said today. Recent curbs on the media prohibit coverage of election rallies, live call-ins, live talk shows, live coverage of protests, or any live broadcasts that could show the government in a negative light, severely restricting the right to free expression ahead of Pakistan’s election on February 18, 2008.
On November 3, 2007, President Pervez Musharraf suspended Pakistan’s constitution and declared emergency rule, curbing the media through two decrees that bar the publishing or broadcasting of “anything which defames or brings into ridicule the head of state, or members of the armed forces, or executive, legislative or judicial organ of the state.” The print and electronic media were also restrained from publishing any material likely to “jeopardize or be prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan, or any material that is likely to incite violence or hatred or create inter-faith disorder or be prejudicial to maintenance of law and order.” Television discussions of anything deemed “false or baseless” by the regulatory authorities were also banned. All those provisions remain in force, even though the state of emergency was lifted on December 15.
Jemima Inteview President Musharraf
Published in The Independent, it is definitely worth reading.
‘Since you were so kind as to greet us in London at Downing Street last month, the President would like to return the favour,” announces Major-General Rashid Qureshi, President Pervez Musharraf’s PR man over the phone. Only in Pakistan could the government’s head of spin be a retired major-general. He is referring to my last encounter with the President on 28 January when, along with a 2,000-strong, placard-waving, slogan-jeering mob, I protested on the main road outside 10 Downing Street while Musharraf discussed democracy with Gordon Brown over lunch inside. On the way in he waved at us. Clearly he’s a man who is not afraid of confrontation. Much to the justifiable fury of every journalist in Islamabad, he has now granted me an exclusive half-hour interview despite or perhaps because of the fact that I have recently described him as one of the most repressive dictators Pakistan has ever known.
On the way to the Camp Office in Rawalpindi, I cross the bridge and pass the petrol station, which mark the spots of two recent attempts on the life of the now deeply unpopular President. I have a horrible fear that, bamboozled under the spotlight of his renowned charm, I may start to simper. My ex-husband, one of the President’s most vocal critics, has already told me he thinks this is all a terrible idea. “It will be misinterpreted in Pakistan. Besides, you’ll be too soft on him,” he said.
The Camp Office turns out to be an old colonial building which used to be the HQ of the northern command under the British. With its delicately carved, wooden, double-height ceilings, sweeping central staircase, marble floors and ornate carpets, it’s not hard to see why the President chose this as his private office in Rawalpindi. His residence is just up the driveway.
Musharraf’s Understanding of Human Rights
President Pervez Musharraf responds to a question posed by Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Roth asked Musharraf whether, in the interest of free debate before the February 18, 2008 parliamentary elections, he would release the judges and lawyers who were being held under house arrest but had not been charged with any crime.
His response, seems like hes clueless of what Human Rights actually is
Hamid Mir shares his concerns about the restricted media
Mr. Hamid Mir, a very prominent anchor of Geo TV who was banned from appearing on any TV show after the emergency shares his feelings in this letter submitted after the press conference he had on the invitation of Pakistan Federal Union Journalists . Its a must read specially if you want to understand whats going on behind the covers of the new form of Media Censorship
Dear Journalist Colleagues,
Thanks for coming to this press conference on the invitation of Pakistan Federal Union Journalists.
As you know that Musharraf regime have banned many TV anchors including me without any written charge against us. The main objective of banning us was to pressurize Pakistani media to accept a new code of conduct for print and electronic journalism. This new code was drafted just to manipulate elections. Musharraf regime started pressurizing us to accept new media laws in 2006.I was served with a notice from the government in October 2006 when I hosted a talk show on the role of intelligence agencies in politics. I responded that notice through my lawyer and took a stand that I never violated any law. Government never issued any notice to me after my response.
Attorney General Qayyum Aware of Massive Election-Rigging Plans as early as Nov
In an audio recording obtained by Human Rights Watch, Pakistans Attorney General [Mr. upsnoot] Malik Qayyum stated that upcoming parliamentary elections will be “massively rigged,
Human Rights Watch said that the recording was made during a phone interview with a member of the media on November 21, 2007. Qayyum, while still on the phone interview, took a call on another telephone and his side of that conversation was recorded. The recording was made the day after Pakistans Election Commission announced the schedule for polls. The election was originally planned for January 8 but was postponed after the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto[audio:pakistan0208.mp3]
“Leave Nawaz Sharif (PAUSE)…. I think Nawaz Sharif will not take part in the election (PAUSE)…. If he does take part, he will be in trouble. If Benazir takes part she too will be in trouble (PAUSE)…. They will massively rig to get their own people to win. If you can get a ticket from these guys, take it (PAUSE)…. If Nawaz Sharif does not return himself, then Nawaz Sharif has some advantage. If he comes himself, even if after the elections rather than before (PAUSE). Yes.
Seminar: Urbanization, Politics, Public & National Interests by Mr. Arif Hasan
The Peoples Resistance would like to invite the general public for a talk on “URBANIZATION, POLITICS, PUBLIC AND NATIONAL INTERESTS” by Mr. Arif Hasan, a leading environmentalist, architect and people-oriented planner, on Sunday, 17th February, 2008, at 4 p.m. sharp at Shirkat Gah, 2 Bath Island Road, Parin Lodge, Karachi (near Bridge Store)
Presented by Peoples Resistanc in association with The Green Economics Initiative,
Your RSVP would be helpful
Message from Aitzaz Ahsan to Pakistanis
The following video has been obtained by Student Action Committee through special arrangements and SAC is releasing it for the general audience right now.
The video includes a message to the people of Pakistan followed by a very inspirational poem by none other than Honorable Aitzaz Ahsan. It is addressed particularly to the youth and future leaders of Pakistan who have been actively opposing oppression of the current regime and continuing the struggle for the restoration of the judiciary even when the main leaders are still kept under illegal custody or house-arrest.
This video is HIGHLY inspirational and I would recommend all of you to watch it.