Here’s what is happening across the border: Balochistan political parties take election campaigns to social media, while Facebook works with Election Commission to keep polls fair.
Blast kills ANP leader Haroon Bilour, 13 others in Peshawar
A suicide bombing at an Awami National Party (ANP) election rally in Peshawar claimed 14 lives, including that of senior ANP leader Haroon Bilour, and left 45 others injured at the central Yakatoot area Tuesday, reported The News.
Eyewitnesses said Haroon had been warmly welcomed with fireworks by his supporters when he arrived at 11 pm. They said the bomber was not very far from Bilour when the bomb was set off.
Condemnation poured in on Twitter. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan tweeted that political parties and candidates should be provided security.
Sad to learn of Haroon Bilour and 2 other ANP workers deaths and strongly condemn the terrorist attack at the ANP corner mtg in Peshawar. All political parties and their candidates must be provided proper security during their election campaigns by the State.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) July 10, 2018
Haroon had lost his father in the last election and now his children have lost their father, Imran Khan said.
Rest in peace Haroon Bilour. You lost your father in last election. Your childern lost their father during this election. #HaroonBilour
— Sabir Shakir (@SabirShakir_ARY) July 10, 2018
Haroon Bilour’s father Bashir Ahmad Bilour, a member of the provincial assembly of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was also killed in a suicide attack at Qissa Khawani in Peshawar in December 2012. Haroon was contesting from the same constituency that his father had represented.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sardar Muhammad Raza said in a statement that the attack was a conspiracy against efforts to make the election transparent. “This shows the weakness of our security institutions,” he added. He also pointed out that the provincial governments were ordered to provide fool-proof security to all candidates.
Political parties in Balochistan use social media for election campaigning
Ignored by mainstream media houses, most political parties in Balochistan, participating in the upcoming 2018 general elections, have launched poll campaigns on social media, reported Dawn.
Balochistan National Party यांनी वर पोस्ट केले मंगळवार, १० जुलै, २०१८
Traditional Balochi, Brahvi and Pashto songs have been posted on Facebook pages in an attempt to draw voters’ attention. The songs are being put up by Balochistan National Party-Mengal, PKMAP, National Party (NP), Awami National Party (ANP), and Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), among other political groups.
یہ ہمارا شہر ہے اور ہم نے اس کا تحفظ کرنا ہے،شہید ہارون بشیر بلور کے آخری الفاظ
دہشت گردی تھی،کوئی سیاسی پارٹی میدان میں نہیں تھی،بم دھماکے ہورہے تھے،ہر کوئی بھاگ رہا تھا،ایک عوامی نیشنل پارٹی میدان میں تھی اسی وجہ سے دہشت گرد ہمیں نشانہ بناتے رہے۔۔۔۔اس کے باوجود بھی سیاسی ظرف نہ رکھنے والے لوگ کہتے ہیں کہ اے این پی نے اس ملک کیلئے کیا کیا ہے؟؟؟ہم نے اس ملک کی امن کے خاطر نسلوں کی قربانی دی ہے
Awami National Party यांनी वर पोस्ट केले मंगळवार, १० जुलै, २०१८
“The media too has [meted out] step-motherly treatment like other institutions towards this province”, Rauf Lala, a Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) leader lamented.
Using hashtags like #BalochistanNeedsSMengal on Twitter, BNP-Mengal is effectively using the power of social media. “The media can help us in communicating our message to voters,” BNP-Mengal’s information secretary Agha Hassan Baloch said.
The newly formed Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) has also made Facebook pages and has been running songs and anthems in Urdu as part of its campaigning for the elections.
Official Song Of Balochistan Awami Party ( B.A.P) Released by Hashmi Advertising Company (HAC)
Balochistan Awami Party – BAP यांनी वर पोस्ट केले मंगळवार, १० जुलै, २०१८
Facebook move towards free and fair elections in Pakistan
Facebook released a statement Tuesday, stating that it is working hard to protect and preserve the integrity of the upcoming general elections around the world and in Pakistan, reported GeoTV.
Facebook has been working proactively with the Election Commission of Pakistan by educating officials on how the giant social media platform works.
It stated that it is empowering people to decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share. For this, the social media giant has partnered with Media Matters for Democracy and Engage Pakistan. Also, ahead of election day, a vote reminder will appear as a megaphone at the top of its newsfeed.
An election integrity website for candidates and parties in Pakistan will be created to offer tips on engaging with followers on their pages and keeping their accounts safe. The statement added that Facebook has made recent improvements by removing nearly 6 million fake accounts across the globe by just identifying patterns of activity.
It has deployed new strategies like third-party fact-checking in partnership with AFP, developed and distributed via a public service announcement, tips to recognise and avoiding false news on Facebook, ensure transparency for ads, accounts and pages on Facebook to protect the democratic process by sending security emails to the admins of such pages.
It is a grave business for land mafia in Karachi
With increasing population and dwindling land space, burying the dead in Karachi has become an expensive proposition. As such, cemetery workers have begun to rent out spaces for graves, ranging from Rs 10,000-15,000, even though the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC)’s grave rates are much lower, at around Rs 2,500, reported The New Tribune.
Graveyards in posh areas are being lent out for as high as Rs 50,000.
The report said that contractors are building new graveyards over the top of the old ones and are charging exorbitant prices. Graves with no headstones or visitors are dug up and put to sale for re-use. Old locked up graveyards are even allegedly being used by drug addicts and dealers. The land mafia in these regions has become so powerful that they have bulldozed multiple graveyards and have constructed buildings over them. A lot of historic architecture in Karachi is getting lost in the process, the report says.
Last month Mayor Waseem Akhtar promised the construction of three new graveyards when the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s budget for the fiscal year 2018-19 was announced but it will be a long time before the dead get this government relief.
Sharif family lodges complaint against protestors
The Nawaz Sharif family Tuesday filed a complaint with the London Police, alleging that ‘Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) activists had broken into the house of Hassan Nawaz, Sharif’s son, at Avenfield in London two days ago, The Nation reported.
The report, quoting a private news channel, said the family had submitted video footage and photos of the alleged vandalism.
There had been protests outside the Avenfield apartment late Monday, with protesters chanting slogans against the former prime minister. While the Sharif family blamed it on PTI supporters, the party’s Britain chapter condemned the incident and denied the accusations that its workers were behind the agitation.
The complaint also alleged that the lives of Sharif’s family and Begum Kulsoom, Nawaz Sharif’s wife, are under threat.
Contributors: Manisha Mondal, Hansa Kapoor, Rupanwita Bhattacharjee, Anagha Deshpande and Soniya Agrawal.