Posts Tagged ‘Election2013’

Sardar Rasmesh Singh Arora, the first Sikh member of the Provincial Assembly since 1947.

Sardar Rasmesh Singh Arora, the first Sikh member of the Provincial Assembly since 1947.

LAHORE: Saturday marked a historic milestone for the Sikh community in the province. A Sikh representative, for the first time since 1947, took oath as a member of the provincial assembly in Punjab at its first session.

He was nominated on a seat reserved for minorities on a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) ticket.

Sardar Ramesh Singh Arora walked into the assembly hall wearing a traditional white shalwar kamees and an orange turban. Several parliamentarians and assembly officials shook hands with him and welcomed him. Several of his family and friends were there to support him as well.

“As the first Sikh to have taken oath as a parliamentarian in the Punjab Assembly since 1947, I am absolutely delighted to be part of this august house. The position certainly comes with a lot of responsibility. I will not only be representing my own community but all the minorities in the province,” Arora told The Express Tribune after taking the oath.


Arora hails from Narowal and has been associated with the Pakistan Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee.

“PML-N’s priorities include eliminating load shedding and reviving the economy,” he said, minorities will benefit from these.

Arora said that he would work for the rehabilitation of historical and religious sites of the Sikhs. “Sites sacred to other religions will also be restored through the Evacuee Trust Property Board,” he said.

He said work on the reformation of the Gurudwara Parbhandhak Committee was already underway, adding that it would be made more effective and efficient. “I will do the best I can to serve minorities. That is my aim and my party’s policy. That is why I’m here and that is what my oath was about,” he said.

Parliamentarian drives in on a motorbike

While most parliamentarians were seen reaching the assembly chambers on expensive SUVs and luxury cars, one of them chose a different mode of transport. Maulana Ghiyasud Din, a PML-N MPA from Shakargarh, drove a motorbike, with a green number plate reading MPA, to the assembly building.

“There is need to promote simplicity in our culture. That is why I drove a motorbike to attend the first assembly session. We need to cut down on expenses and solve problems like load shedding as soon as possible,” he said.

The effort towards that end needs to start from day one, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2013.

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ISLAMABAD: Around 112 parties contested the 2013 elections. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), however, emerged as the largest party – both in terms of the number of seats it won in the National Assembly, and the votes it bagged.

The PML-N fielded 220 candidates for 270 seats in the lower house of parliament. The party won 125 seats and secured 14,794,188 votes, according to the data gathered by the Free and Fair Elections Network (FAFEN).

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) emerged as the second biggest party, securing 7,563,504 votes. Imran Khan fielded 232 candidates. The party, however, only won 27 seats in the National Assembly.




With 31 seats in the National Assembly, the former ruling party – the Pakistan Peoples Party-Parliamentarians (PPPP) – clinched the third position. It received 6,822,958 votes.

The May 11 election was allegedly tainted by a series of anomalies. Independent candidates emerged as the fourth strongest parliamentary force, bagging a total of 5,773,494 votes, and winning 32 seats in the lower house.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) fielded 205 candidates for the National Assembly, but secured 18 seats from Karachi and Hyderabad for the lower house with 2,422,656 votes.

Maulan Fazlur Rehman’s Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam-Fazl fielded 131 candidates and won 10 seats. The party secured 1,454,907 votes countrywide.

The performance of the once ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid was very unimpressive. In all, the party fielded 53 candidates but won only two National Assembly seats with 1,405,493 votes. The Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, which is limited to Sindh, fielded 28 candidates and won five seats, securing 1,007,761 votes.

The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) fielded 166 candidates but won a dismal three seats from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa only. The JI, allegedly known for its pro-establishment approach for arranging ‘dharnas’ against elected governments in the past, fetched 949,394 votes in the current elections.

Out of the 58 candidates fielded by the Awami National Party (ANP), the former ruling party in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, only one emerged victorious. The ANP managed to get only 450,561 votes. The party says attacks and threats from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was one of the main reasons why it could not carry out its election campaigns effectively.

The Muttahida Deeni Mahaz, an umbrella grouping of several religious parties, could not secure any seat in the lower house. The 87 candidates fielded by the bloc, however, won 359,589 votes.

The Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) won three seats in the National Assembly, fetching 211,989 votes. The party had fielded 30 candidates.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s Awami Muslim League Pakistan fielded 16 candidates and could win only one seat from Rawalpindi. It bagged 93,051 votes. The party with the lowest votes was Pakistan Awami Inqalab with a lone candidate receiving seven votes.

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President Asif Ali Zardari. (Known as Mr. 10 %)

President Asif Ali Zardari. (Known as Mr. 10 %)

LAHORE: Fuelling doubts about the transparency of the May 11 elections, President Asif Ali Zardari has said that the returning officers (ROs) played an important role in the elections.

“If I get [the support of] these ROs, I can win the presidential election,” he said while talking to a delegation of South Asia Free Media Association (Safma) at Bilawal House on Sunday. The PPP did not want to sacrifice ‘another Bhutto’ just for another 25-26 seats, he added.


Quashing rumours about his plans to step down, President Zardari said he would complete his constitutional term. “If I did not resign at the time of elections [to lead PPP’s campaign], there was no justification for my resignation now,” he said.

He said that the PPP could not run a proper elections campaign in Punjab because of the Taliban threats. Moreover, the judiciary was also against PPP, he added. “The party couldn’t fight on multiple fronts simultaneously.”

Despite reservations, President Zardari said that the PPP has conceded defeat and he will administer oath to the party that has won the mandate. “The opposition leader will be from the second largest party in the National Assembly,” he said. “We would have no issue if PTI becomes the second biggest party and gets the opposition leader slot.”

President Zardari said that the PPP lost 40 to 45 seats because of its poor elections strategy. Asked what would be the party’s strategy if the 2013 elections were held again, the president said he would step down to lead PPP’s election campaign.

He said that Manzoor Wattoo was made the president of Punjab chapter of PPP in view of the traditional biradri politics in the province not because of his ideological stance. Wattoo worked hard but unfortunately his efforts did not yield the desired results, he added.

He said two former premiers from his party – Yousaf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf – could not effectively lead PPP’s election campaign. Gilani was busy making efforts for the recovery of his son, while Ashraf was fighting court cases against him.

President also blamed the energy crisis for the poor performance of PPP in the elections. “The PPP government could not handle the electricity crisis and this caused the party’s defeat in the elections,” he added.

About Sindh where the PPP has emerged as the single largest party, President Zardari said that the PPP would form a coalition government with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), though the party has enough seats to form the next government independently.

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ECP Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed. PHOTO

ECP Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed. PHOTO

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has asked the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to help verify votes by matching thumbprints with its database, said ECP Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed on Monday.

Ahmed was addressing a press conference in Islamabad along with NADRA chairman Tariq Malik.

Malik, while speaking to media, said the database authority currently does not have the system to verify the huge amount of thumbprints. However, he said that it will achieve the ability to do so in two weeks time.

He further added that thumbprints can only be verified if a certain type of ink – earlier specified to the ECP – was used.

Explaining the tedious process of thumbprint verification, Malik said that each thumb impression will be manually verified.

He said the cost of verification will be shared by the interim government and the electoral candidates.

The ECP secretary added that with the required system improvement in place, NADRA will be able to verify 500,000 votes per day.


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