PAKISTAN: 2013 Elections Tainted by Violence

LIZA HERNANDEZ WRITES- With the recent outbreak of violence over the 2013 elections in Pakistan, a rather grim mood has settled over the event.


The targets of the recent attacks have all been candidates running for office in this year’s election. In Peshawar, 2 bombs exploded in attacks that targeted the election offices of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). Also, the election office of an independent candidate contesting elections from NA-46, Nasir Khan Afridi, was targeted in an attack that killed at least 3 people and injured 15 others. In the Karachi region, 2 bomb attacks were targeted against the election office of the MQM and another attack targeted a corner meeting of the PPP in Lyari and resulted in the deaths of 6 people and the injuries of more than 65 people.


In a statement given to the DAWN media outlet, Nasir Khan Afridi stated “…that those behind the incident were trying to sabotage the upcoming elections and derail the process.”


The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) expressed extreme concern over the recent attacks and the effect they could have on the outcome of the elections this year. The ECP states that the provincial governments were responsible for maintaining order and that candidates should be provided a safe atmosphere in which to conduct their campaigns.


In order to ensure peaceful elections in Balochistan, the provincial government is deploying military and frontier corps personnel to all 30 districts in the area. However, one must ask whether the presence of military personnel with have a positive or negative effect on the turnout of the election.


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