News / Asia

Bombings, Intimidation Mar Run-up to Pakistan Elections

Bombings, Intimidation Mar Run-up to Pakistan Electionsi
X
April 18, 2013 7:46 PM
Next month, Pakistan holds its first election in five years and campaign-related violence is already having an impact. Deadly attacks have targeted secular politicians and their supporters. Other candidates and voters have been intimidated by militants. Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on whether ongoing violence will affect the credibility of the vote.
Sharon Behn
Next month, Pakistan holds its first election in five years and campaign-related violence is already having an impact. Deadly attacks have targeted secular politicians and their supporters.  Other candidates and voters have been intimidated by militants.

Militants are hitting early election rallies hard in Pakistan. The victims of one blast: supporters of the secular Awami National Party.

The Taliban has threatened the largely secular parties of ANP, its partner, the Pakistan People’s Party and MQM in the southern city Karachi.

Accountant Abdul Basit Javed says the threat of violence will not stop him from voting.

“There is a lot of turmoil and pain and agony going on in the country and, in this situation, we need to come out of our homes and we need to cast our votes, so that the situation of our country do [does] change,” Javed said.

Others are less optimistic. Muddassir Rizvi of the Free and Fair Election Network says parties that have taken a stand against militants are being targeted, reducing their ability to rally supporters.

“With these three rather more center or centrist parties being targeted, who have a very clearly defined policy on Talibanization and terrorism, we see this is creating a very un-level playing field for political contenders vying for power in the next general elections,” Rizvi said.

In the last national elections in 2008, militants killed candidate and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Violence delayed the vote by six weeks.

This time, some parties are relying on technology like cell phone messages and social media to reach potential voters, without risking big gatherings.

As authorities increase security in the run-up to the May 11 vote, analyst Moeed Yusuf of the United States Institute of Peace says it is unlikely that attacks will be able to derail the democratic process.

“So my guess is that you are going to have violence.  You are going to have unfortunate incidents.  But it won’t blow out of proportion to the point where you basically can’t hold an election. I think elections will be held in very tense circumstances, but they will be held ultimately,” Yusuf said.

After years of violence, Pakistanis expected the campaign season would be bloody. But the verdict is still out on how the violence will affect the outcome and credibility of a high-stakes election for a country with a long history of political unrest.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid