HT Image
HT Image

The fun has gone out of polls in Pak

The low turnout at rallies has to do with the fear amongst most Pakistanis, across party lines, of terror-related incidents at political rallies. Kamal Siddiqi reports...
By Kamal Siddiqi | None, Karachi
UPDATED ON FEB 11, 2008 10:55 PM IST

It’s not just the cold weather that is forcing the party faithful indoors. For the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the party with overwhelming political support in Karachi and other cities of Sindh province, the number of people turning up at party rallies is minimal when compared to past elections.

Much of the low turnout at rallies has to do with the fear amongst most Pakistanis, across party lines, of terror-related incidents at political rallies. “Let us not take this as disinterest in the political process. The MQM supporter will come to the polling station come what may,” says Inayat Ali Khan, a party worker standing guard at a corner meeting in the lower income locality of Mehmoodabad in Karachi, an MQM stronghold.

Khan says that what he is looking out for are “people who do not fit into the crowd,” meaning outsiders or those who seem out of place due to their physical characteristics. One can see that the party workers are nervous and edgy. Not far from here, in October 2007, a bomb blast ended the lives of over 140 persons in a rally that was supposed to welcome Benazir Bhutto back to Pakistan.

Despite eagle-eyed party workers and back-up from police and para-military forces, the MQM and other parties are not ready to hold big rallies and are restricting themselves to corner meetings instead. “This time the party machinery is working on a more focused agenda,” says leader Dr Farooq Sattar.

With less than a week to go to elections, one would have expected more in terms of hue and cry. But, in the words of another party activist, the polls are a “thund (cold) programme”.

Despite their lack of enthusiasm, many agree that the elections should be held “come what may”. The main party banners on the streets of Karachi are of the MQM or Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party. There are a few seats that will be hotly contested, but even in these, the scales are tipped in favour of the MQM, which has been a coalition partner with President Pervez Musharraf.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
A poster of the initiative committee against wearing the burqa reading "Stop extremism! Veil ban - Yes" is seen in Zurich Switzerland.(REUTERS)
A poster of the initiative committee against wearing the burqa reading "Stop extremism! Veil ban - Yes" is seen in Zurich Switzerland.(REUTERS)

Swiss mull 'burqa ban' in vote centering on security, rights

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | AP, Geneva
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 07:22 PM IST
  • In the past, Swiss voters have approved a ban on the construction of minarets in the Alpine country whose flag carries the cross.
Close
This is the first refusal to vaccine export after the EU introduced the vaccination supply measures overseas on January 29.(Reuters)
This is the first refusal to vaccine export after the EU introduced the vaccination supply measures overseas on January 29.(Reuters)

Italy is first to block Covid-19 vaccine export. All you need to know

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Deepali Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 07:23 PM IST
The refusal was possible because of the vaccine export control measure taken by the European Union earlier this year.
Close
Prince Philip’s illness is not believed to be related to the coronavirus.(AFP)
Prince Philip’s illness is not believed to be related to the coronavirus.(AFP)

UK's Prince Philip transferred back to private hospital

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | AP, London
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 07:02 PM IST
  • Philip was admitted to the private London hospital on February 16, where he was treated for an infection.
Close
Naureen Hassan holds a Masters of Business Administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.(Twitter / @NewYorkFed)
Naureen Hassan holds a Masters of Business Administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.(Twitter / @NewYorkFed)

Indian American Naureen Hassan named first VP, COO of New York Fed

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 06:58 PM IST
  • The appointment, effective March 15, was approved by the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Close
US President Joe Biden gestures as he speaks during a call to congratulate the Nasa JPL Perseverance team on the successful Mars landing, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on March 4, 2021. (AFP)(HT_PRINT)
US President Joe Biden gestures as he speaks during a call to congratulate the Nasa JPL Perseverance team on the successful Mars landing, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on March 4, 2021. (AFP)(HT_PRINT)

Debate to begin in US Senate on Prez Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | Reuters, Washington
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 06:42 PM IST
The Senate voted on Thursday to take up the bill in a party-line 51-50 vote, with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie. But Republicans delayed the start of the debate by forcing the hours-long reading of the full text of the 628-page measure.
Close
Dr Ngong Cyprian receives his first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine from Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, at the National hospital in Abuja, Nigeria, March 5, 2021. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde (REUTERS)
Dr Ngong Cyprian receives his first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine from Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, at the National hospital in Abuja, Nigeria, March 5, 2021. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde (REUTERS)

Doctor gets Nigeria's first Covid-19 vaccine amid cheers and hope

Reuters, Abuja
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 06:39 PM IST
  • Two other male doctors and one female nurse were also inoculated in white tents draped in green, the colours of the national flag, while cameras rolled and officials clapped and cheered.
Close
Morris, while speaking to the broadcaster, said that he was “stunned” to see the image of a ship floating in the air.(David Morris/APEX via BBC)
Morris, while speaking to the broadcaster, said that he was “stunned” to see the image of a ship floating in the air.(David Morris/APEX via BBC)

Floating ship clicked off English coast, expert calls it ‘rare phenomenon’

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Srivatsan K C, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 06:37 PM IST
A BBC meteorologist, David Braine, explained the phenomenon and said that “a super mirage” has caused the ship to appear as floating in the air, because of “special atmospheric conditions that bend light.”
Close
Hong Kong protesters gather outside a detention centre in Lai Chi Kok to demand the release of protesters, in Hong Kong, China. (Lucy Nicholson / REUTERS)
Hong Kong protesters gather outside a detention centre in Lai Chi Kok to demand the release of protesters, in Hong Kong, China. (Lucy Nicholson / REUTERS)

Four Hong Kong activists released on bail after prosecutors withdraw appeal

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 05:55 PM IST
The four are part of a group of 47 activists charged with conspiracy to commit subversion in a case that has triggered global concern that Beijing is using the security law to crush dissent and wipe out meaningful opposition in the former British colony.
Close
“We welcome the agreement we are seeking, which will now put an end to many years of costly and time-consuming disputes over the German nuclear phase-out,” read a Vattenfall statement.(AFP)
“We welcome the agreement we are seeking, which will now put an end to many years of costly and time-consuming disputes over the German nuclear phase-out,” read a Vattenfall statement.(AFP)

Germany compensates utilities $2.9 Billion for nuclear exit

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 05:52 PM IST
  • The deal ends the decade-long battle between the government and Germany’s biggest energy companies.
Close
Police barricade tape cordons off a knife attack site in Vetlanda, Sweden March 3, 2021.(REUTERS)
Police barricade tape cordons off a knife attack site in Vetlanda, Sweden March 3, 2021.(REUTERS)

Afghan suspected of stabbing 7 held in custody in Sweden

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | AP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 05:06 PM IST
  • The man, who has Afghan citizenship, was described by Swedish media as an asylum-seeker whose residence permit had expired last year.
Close
A pharmacist prepares a syringe from a vial of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.(AP)
A pharmacist prepares a syringe from a vial of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.(AP)

France backs Italy’s call to stop exports of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 05:00 PM IST
The backing from a major European Union country comes after Australia called on the European Commission to take a look at Italy’s actions.
Close
A bystander listens Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the nation on television. ( AFP)
A bystander listens Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the nation on television. ( AFP)

Pak election commission meets to discuss Imran Khan's allegations

PTI, Islamabad
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 04:58 PM IST
Prime Minister Khan, in a televised address to the country on Thursday, lashed out at the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) which he said failed to stop corruption in Wednesday's closely-contested Senate elections.
Close
On a smoggy day in Beijing, Premier Li Keqiang said the country will reduce carbon emissions per unit of economic output by 18% over the next five years. (Representative Image)(Unsplash)
On a smoggy day in Beijing, Premier Li Keqiang said the country will reduce carbon emissions per unit of economic output by 18% over the next five years. (Representative Image)(Unsplash)

China to cut carbon emissions per economic unit of output by 18% in five years

AP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 04:58 PM IST
Many are waiting to see whether the government will unveil more detailed regulations on carbon-intense industries such as steel and cement manufacturing later this year.
Close
While the COVAX initiative was created to ensure that low- and middle-income countries receive Covid-19 vaccines, it has faced delays and limited supply.(Reuters)
While the COVAX initiative was created to ensure that low- and middle-income countries receive Covid-19 vaccines, it has faced delays and limited supply.(Reuters)

Africa welcomes Covax doses but warns against 'selfishness'

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | AP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 04:53 PM IST
“Rich countries should not be so selfish,” Pontiano Kaleebu, head of the Uganda Virus Research Institute, said as his country prepared to receive its first doses. “It’s a concern, and everyone is talking about it.”
Close
Former US president Donald Trump will be allowed back on YouTube but only when the threat of his inciting violence abates.(AFP)
Former US president Donald Trump will be allowed back on YouTube but only when the threat of his inciting violence abates.(AFP)

What is YouTube ‘three-strikes’ system Trump channel will remain subject to

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 04:52 PM IST
  • YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki stressed that the three-strikes system applies to everyone and no one has the privilege of exception.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP