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> Candidates, Party Officials evince keen interest in course on ‘The Last 200 Hours of Election Campaign’
   500 participate in PILDAT- IRI refresher courses across party lines and all over the country
Refresher Course
February 14, 2008
Peshawar, Islamabad, Karachi, Quetta, Lahore


A series of 17 Refresher Courses for Political Party Officials, Candidates for the National and Provincial Assemblies and their Campaign Managers focusing on proven techniques for “The Last 200 Hours of the Election Campaign” commencing on February 01 in Peshawar concluded on February 10 in Lahore ahead of the General election scheduled for February 18, 2008 and a day before the last 200 hours kick off at 08:00 am on February 11, 2008. The refresher courses organized by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development And Transparency – PILDAT with support from the International Republican Institute – IRI aimed to help the Political Party Officials, Candidates for the National and Provincial Assemblies and their Campaign Managers make the best use of the last 200 hours before the polls on February 18 - the final phase of their election campaign. Attention of the participants was drawn to the final week of the election campaign starting on February 11 and finishing on polling day – February 18 at 05:00 pm which in many ways would determine the final outcome and when most voters would decide who they would vote for and whether or not they would actually go and vote. The course highlighted that the last 200 hours of the campaign is when the election is won or lost and the candidates who make the best use of this time are the ones who stand the best chance to win the election. A number of key strategies were outlined including focusing on the final message and “swing” voters in the final 200 hours of election campaigning.


The refresher courses held in all the four provinces across the country from February 02 to February 10, 2008 were held in Peshawar on February 02-03 followed by sessions in Islamabad on February 04-05, in Karachi on February 06-07, in Quetta on February 08 and in Lahore on February 09-10. Over 500 Party Officials, Candidates for the National and Provincial Assemblies and their Campaign Managers from 7 major political parties in the country attended the 17 refresher courses. Five sessions were held in Peshawar, 3 in Islamabad, 4 in Karachi, 2 in Quetta and 3 in Lahore. Participants included party officials and workers from each city where the course was held as well as from other cities and towns from each province. A separate course was held for each political party or alliance. Representatives of the political parties which participated in these courses included the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q); Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N); Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarian (PPPP); Pakistan Peoples Party- Sherpao (PPP-S); Muttehida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA); Muttehida Qaumi Movement (MQM); Awami National Party (ANP); and the Balochistan National Party (BNP).


Leadership from the political parties who participated included Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, President Punjab and Deputy Secretary General PPPP; Ms. Shazia Marri, Candidate for NA and PS, PPPP; Ms. Nargis N.D. Khan, Candidate for NA, PPPP; Ms. Palwasha Khan, NA Candidate PPPP; Mr. Ayub Shah, Candidate NA, PPPP; Maulana Ali Muhammad Abu Turab, Secretary General Balochistan, MMA; Maulana Abdul Aziz Khilji, Candidate NA, MMA; Hafiz Hamdullah, Deputy Secretary General Balochistan, MMA; Mr. Abdul Jalil Jan, Information Secretary NWFP-JUI-F; Ms. Shagufta Malik, PF Candidate ANP; Ms. Yakut Jamilur-Rehman, Vice President, PML; Ms. Mehnaz Raffi, Former MNA and Vice President, PML; Senator Tahira Latif, PML; Shahida Mazhar, Candidate NA, PML; Ms. Amna Saleem, Vice President Women’s Wing, PML; Ms. Farukh Khan, Secretary General Women’s Wing, PML; Ms. Perveen S. Gill, Senior Vice President Punjab, PML;Mr. Nafis Hyder, Secretary Information Sindh, PML; Mr. Anjum Aqil Khan, Candidate NA, PML-N; Syed Zahoor Shah, Candidate NA, PML-N; Sardar Azam Afridi, Candidate NA, PML-N; Ms. Najma Hamid, President Women Wing Punjab, PML-N; Ms. Nuzhat Amir Sadiq, President Women Wing Islamabad, PML-N; Ms. Shaista Pervez Malik, Senior Vice President Women Wing, PML-N; Ms. Perveen Bashir, Secretary General Sindh Women Wing, PML-N; Ms. Shabina Talat, Candidate NA, MQM;


The participants termed the session as a great learning experience and underlined the need for holding such sessions in future a few months ahead of the election date. They underscored the importance of holding such sessions with multi-party participation at the community level. The need to raise the political awareness of the masses so that they are able to make a well informed decision on February 18 was highlighted by all the participants at the sessions across the country. A key concern raised by representatives of all the participating political parties was mobilizing the voters to come out on election-day to cast their vote. The prospect of a very low voter turn-out on election-day- February 18, 2008 was the major apprehension among the participants due to fear and sense of insecurity among the voters in light of the rapidly deteriorating law and order situation in the country.


The PILDAT a nonpartisan citizen’s initiative dedicated to strengthening democracy and democratic institutions in Pakistan is committed to creating a culture of deliberative, sustainable democracy in the country in which all sections of the society can participate in the decision-making.






Participants at session in Quetta


Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaking at the session in Islamabad


Participants at the session in Islamabad


Participants at session in Karachi