The 2013 General Election campaign season in Pakistan has been the most competitive and most violent in the country’s history. The Free and Fair Election Network recorded 149 incidents of election-related violence during the campaign period between March 17 and May 9. The violence has killed approximately 189 people and injured roughly 667.

The hardest hit province has been Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, followed by Sindh and Balochistan. FATA has seen relatively fewer incidents of violence directly related to the elections, but the severe militant insurgency in that region continued unabated throughout the campaign period. Punjab has experienced the lease election violence during this time; however, during the last week of the campaign period, a string of incidents did take place in the province, bringing up the tally.

Table 1: Number of Incidents of Electoral Violence in Different Provinces

Province No. of Incidents
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 52
Sindh 43
Balochistan 37
FATA 10
Punjab 7
Total 149

The violence has predominantly targeted political parties, including 42 attacks targeting candidates. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh saw the highest number of attacks on political parties, with Balochistan not far behind. Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were the provinces where candidates, in particular, were targeted most. Polling stations (or educational institutions designated as polling stations) were targeted almost exclusively in Balochistan, as were election officials – which is in keeping with the general political violence trend in the province of anti-state/infrastructure violence.

Table 2: Categories of Electoral Violence and Their Frequency in Each Province

Category of Electoral Violence

Total No. of Incidents

Balochistan

FATA

KP

Punjab

Sindh

Attacks on Political Party Workers/Supporters

57

7

2

20

3

25

Attacks on Candidates

42

16

4

15

2

5

Attacks on Political Party Offices/Property

27

5

2

9

1

10

Clashes Between Political Parties

8

1

4

1

2

Attacks on Polling Stations

7

6

1

Intimidation of Voters

5

2

3

Attacks on Election Officials

2

2

Attacks on Community Members

1

1

The Awami National Party (ANP) was most frequently the target of electoral violence during the campaign period, having been targeted in 29 incidents overall. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was targeted in 23 incidents, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) in 16 incidents and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in 12. The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) were  targeted in six and four incidents respectively. Ten incidents involved independent candidates and/or their workers and supporters being targeted.

Of the above-mentioned incidents where political parties were targeted, 42 were attacks on candidates. Candidates of the ANP were targeted most, including in six incidents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and one each in FATA and Sindh. Candidates of the JUI-F were targeted most in Balochistan (four incidents), and were also targeted in FATA and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (one incident each). Candidates of the PML-N were also mostly targeted in Balochistan (four incidents), and in one incident in FATA. Candidates of the PPP were targeted in two incidents in Sindh, and in one incident each in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. Candidates of the PTI were attacked in two incidents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while JI candidates were attacked in one incident each in Balochistan and FATA.

In three incidents, candidates were killed. These included a candidate of the ANP, a candidate of the MQM and an independent candidate.

Table 3: Political Affiliations of Candidates Targeted in Electoral Violence and Their Frequency

Political Affiliation of Targeted Candidate No. of Incidents
ANP 8
JUI-F 6
Independent 5
PML-N 5
PPP 5
JI 2
PPP-S 2
PTI 2
MQM 1
Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan (AJIP) 1
Balochistan Muttahida Mahaaz (BMM) 1
Jamote Qaumi Movement (JQM) 1
National Party (NP) 1
National People’s Party (NPP) 1
Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) 1

Perpetrators of election-related violence were mostly unidentified and/or militants. Nine incidents were known to be perpetrated by political party workers or supporters. One incident involved state security forces opening fire on the vehicle of a PTI candidate.

Table 4: Types of Perpetrators and Their Frequency

Perpetrator Identity No. of Incidents
Unknown / Unable to determine 115
Militants 25
Political party workers/supporters 9
State security forces 1

In cases where violence was known to be perpetrated or participated in by political parties, three of the incidents involved ANP workers/supporters as perpetrators/participants, and MQM workers/supporters as perpetrators/participants in two of the incidents.

Table 5: Known Political Affiliations of Perpetrators/Participants and Their Frequency

Perpetrator/Participant Political Affiliation No. of Incidents
ANP 3
MQM 2
Independent 1
JI 1
PML-N 1
PPP 1
Qaumi Watan Party 1

Bombing was a predominant tactic of election-related violence, closely followed by gunfire. The high number of bombings in election violence is consistent with the implication that most of the violence was perpetrated by militants/insurgents. A few incidents also involved missiles – these incidents were all in Balochistan and were perpetrated by unknown actors. Clashes between political parties mostly involved exchanges of gunfire. In two incidents – one in FATA and the other in Punjab, candidates were kidnapped by unidentified perpetrators.

 

Table 6: Tactics of Violence and Their Frequency

Method/Tactic of Violence No. of Incidents Between April 25 and May 7
Bombing 65
Gunfire 60
Missile/Mortar 4
Threats/Intimidation 4
Arson 4
Attempted/Thwarted Bombing 3
Kidnapping/Abduction 2
Physical Assault resulting in serious injury 2

To stay updated on information about the 2013 General Election, visit FAFEN’s Election Portal. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Note: The data in this preliminary report is drawn from incidents of election-related violence reported in selected national and local newspapers, as monitored by the Free and Fair Election Network. Your feedback is welcome.

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