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Pakistan: Independent candidate shot dead in North Waziristan ahead of February 8 elections

The candidate was identified as Kaleemullah Khan, who was supposed to contest from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's PK-104, according to police. Several politicians have come under attack in the run-up to the general elections scheduled on February 8.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Islamabad Published on: January 11, 2024 13:27 IST
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With less than a month to go for Pakistan's upcoming elections, an independent candidate for the polls along with two others were killed after unknown attackers opened fire on them, according to local officials on Wednesday. The candidate was identified as Kaleemullah Khan, who was supposed to contest from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's PK-104, police told Geo News.

Police said the incident occurred in the Tappi village of the district when Kaleemullah was busy with his election campaign. "He was injured in a bomb blast recently as well," they added. Meanwhile, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate for NA-258 Aslam Buledi sustained injuries during a firing incident in Turbat City, officials said.

Buledi is a former member of the Balochistan Assembly. He came under an attack near Issa Komi Park in the city and was moved to the Turbat Teaching Hospital, the official added. He will be moved to Karachi for further treatment.

Other attacks in Pakistan

The deadly attacks on candidates come as the country gears up for the February 8 general elections, with a fierce contest expected between former Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan, the latter of whom is currently imprisoned in several cases. 

Last week, former member of Pakistan's National Assembly and National Democratic Movement (NDM) leader Mohsin Dawar's convoy came under a gun attack by terrorists in the Tappi village. The convoy of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) supremo Maulana Fazlur Rehman had also come under attack on December 31 in Dera Ismail Khan.

Several politicians have raised concerns and cast doubts over the electoral process due to the "unstable" security situation in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Last week, the Senate of the Pakistani Parliament on Friday passed a resolution seeking a delay in the February 8 general elections due to security reasons.

Independent Senator Dilawar Khan expressed “great concern” on the recent attempts on the lives of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman, former lawmaker Mohsin Dawar, and other political figures. "The Ministry of Interior has conveyed serious threats to the lives of prominent politicians increasing the challenges faced by political parties in exercising their right to a free and fair election," he added.

Pakistan's general elections

The general elections in Pakistan are scheduled for February 8, with three-time former PM Nawaz Sharif and incarcerated ex-chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan in the fray. While the PML-N remains confident that Nawaz will return as PM, many polls show that Imran and his PTI enjoy widespread popularity.

As many as 3,139 women (over 11 per cent) of the total 28,626 candidates have filed nomination papers for the 2024 Pakistan general elections across the country. According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), as many as 471 women, including Maryam Nawaz Sharif, filed nomination papers to contest elections on general seats of the National Assembly.

Notably, the Pakistan National Assembly had 342 seats-- 272 of which are directly elected, 60 are reserved for women and 10 for religious minorities. According to the country's constitution, at least 70 seats reserved for women and religious minorities are allocated to the political parties as per their proportional representation.

After fresh delimitation, the National Assembly (NA) would consist of 336 seats, including 266 general seats, 60 seats reserved for women, and 10 for non-Muslims, a decrease of six seats overall.

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