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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid