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Political Parties’ Preparations for Elections in 20 Districts

ISLAMABAD, February 22, 2013: The District Long-term Observers (DLTOs) of Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) interviewed 31 representatives of political parties in 20 districts across the country, asking them about their parties preparations for the upcoming General Elections, says a press release of the Free and Fair Election Network.

The report released on Friday reflects FAFEN’s observation of election preparations by political parties across various districts of Pakistan. It has been compiled from data gathered by FAFEN’s District Long-Term Observers (DLTOs) who interviewed 31 officials representing 12 political parties in 20 districts. FAFEN’s standardized protocol includes 15 questions related to electioneering strategy and other topics.

Sixteen (16) representatives of the 12 different political parties were interviewed in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP), eight (8) in Punjab, four (4) in Balochistan, two (2) in FATA and one (1) in Sindh.

Party-wise break-up interviews was as follows: Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP)(7 interviews), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)(6), Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan (JI)(5), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)(3), Pakistan Muslim League (PML)(2), Balochistan National Party (BNP)(2) and Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam (Fazal-ur-Rehman)(JUI-F), Awami National Party (ANP), Pakistan Peoples Party-Shaheed Bhutto(PPP-SB), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) , Qaumi Wattan Party (QWP) and National Party (NP)(one each).

In Khyber Pakhtunkawa, 16 office-bearers of various parties were interviewed in nine (9) districts of Abbottabad, Bannu, Battagram, Chitral, Shangla, Kohistan, Swabi, Swat and Tank. These party representatives belonged to eight (8) different parties, namely ANP, JI, JUI-F, PML, PML-N, PPPP, PTI and QWP.

Eight (8) office-bearers of five (5) parties – JI, MQM, PML-N, PPP and PTI – were interviewed in five (5) Punjab districts of Rahimyar Khan, Sheikhupura, Lodhran, Gujranwala and Vehari.  Four (4) interviews of different party officials were conducted in three (3) Balochistan districts of Panjgur, Gwadar and Kalat. Those interviewed were affiliated with three (3) parties, namely BNP, NP and PPPP.

In FATA, two (2) interviews of representatives of one (1) party (PPPP) were conducted in South Waziristan Agency and Mohmand Agency.  In Sindh’s Karachi-West district, a DLTO interviewed a PPP-SB office-bearer (1).

Nineteen (19) of those interviewed said the respective parties’ district bodies were consulted before finalizing names of candidates.  However, 11 interviewees responded that they were not consulted, and one respondent gave no answer. 

Eleven (11) party representatives reported that candidate lists have been finalized, but 19 others indicated that lists are not yet final.  Ten (10) representatives who said their parties had finalized the list of candidates were willing to share those lists with FAFEN observers.

Regarding the voters’ list, 18 party representatives indicated that they were satisfied. Eleven (11) office-bearers expressed reservations about the electoral roll for the district. 

Fourteen (14) representatives of political parties said detailed election plans for their respective districts were in place, while 13 of them said no strategy or plan had been devised. Four office-bearers did not share information. 

Almost all (30 out of 31) party officials interviewed by FAFEN observers said no funds have been allocated by their party’s national or provincial secretariats for the district party office.  One party official declined to answer these questions.

Twelve (12) party representatives said they have generated funds through donations in the district, while nine (9) said they have not done so.  Another 10 political representatives did not provide an answer to this question.

One party representative responded that the party’s voter mobilization strategy relies on sectarian affiliations, but 29 said it did not.  Thirty (30) representatives ruled out ethnic and linguistic factors in their mobilization strategies, while one said this factor had a role.  Five (5) representatives said their strategy depends in part upon tribal and/or caste affiliations, while 26 said it did not.   

Three (3) of the party officials interviewed declared `Piri mureedi’ an important factor in voter mobilization, with 28 responding otherwise.   In all, 29 party officials did not agree that their voter mobilization strategy relied on clerics, while two (2) thought clerics are an important factor.

About the parties’ reliance on the current government’s performance in their mobilization strategies, 20 party officials termed it an important factor to win voters’ support, and 11 said it is not a factor.  

Twenty-six (26) office-bearers said no anti-American sentiments were involved in their voter mobilization strategies, but four (4) representatives said they are using such appeals to voters.  

Twenty-one (21) interviewees said their strategies involved other factors than those mentioned by FAFEN observers, and seven (7) said no specific approaches are planned.