Jul 18, 2018

Shadow of military “engineering” hangs over Pakistan election

Supporters of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), a Pakistani religious parties alliance, at a rally in Karachi. Photo: Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images

MASTUNG, PAKISTAN — Political leaders from multiple parties accuse Pakistan’s military of misconduct in the lead-up to the July 25 general election. Aslam Raisani, a politician from an impoverished rural district, tells Al Jazeera the military has intimidated voters and offered incentives to switch loyalties, from installing electricity transformers to offering to release relatives allegedly "disappeared" by the intelligence services.

The bigger picture: The military has ruled Pakistan for roughly half of its 70-year history, since independence from the British in 1947, and has been at the centre of allegations of "political engineering" before an election that would see the country's second civilian-to-civilian handover of power. The military denies any involvement in politics, saying it supports the democratic process.

The allegations:

  • The ruling PML-N party says corruption charges against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was arrested along with his daughter last Friday, are politically motivated, and that the military engineered his removal after pressuring the judiciary, a charge both deny.
  • Last Tuesday, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) politician Farhatullah Babar told a press conference that at least three PPP candidates had been threatened by people identifying themselves as military officers.
  • In Balochistan, the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) is suspected to be the face of the alleged engineering. BAP went from inception to fielding 58 candidates across the province within weeks. Leaders of other parties say this is evidence the scales were tipped in its favour.

Go deeper: Read the full report on Al Jazeera.

Go deeper

Facebook employees stage "virtual walkout"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Dozens" of Facebook employees staged a "virtual walkout" Monday over the company's decision not to take action against President Trump's provocative messages in the face of nationwide protests against police violence, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: While Twitter added fact-check labels and hid the president's most inflammatory tweet — "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" — Facebook has said Trump's statements do not violate its policies, and that the platform aims to promote free speech.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

Updated 8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump lashes out at governors, urges them to "dominate" protesters

President Trump berated the nation’s governors in a video teleconference call Monday, calling many of them "weak" and demanding tougher crackdowns on the protests that erupted throughout the country following the killing of George Floyd, according to multiple reports.

The big picture: Trump blamed violence on the "the radical left" and told the governors, who were joined by law enforcement and national security officials, that they have to "dominate" protesters and "arrest people" in order to bring an end to the unrest.

Updated 8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Noam Galai, Jamie McCarthy, Josep Lago/AFP, Alfredo Estrella/AFP, and Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto, all via Getty Images

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 6,206,773 — Total deaths: 372,752 — Total recoveries — 2,661,643Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 1,793,780 — Total deaths: 104,3450 — Total recoveries: 444,758 — Total tested: 16,936,891Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says“My meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased” — Coronavirus looms over George Floyd protests across the country.
  4. Climate: Your guide to comparing climate change and coronavirus.
  5. Economy: A busy week for IPOs despite upheaval from protests and pandemic.
  6. World: Former FDA commissioner says "this is not the time" to cut ties with WHO.