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Pakistan Goes To Historic Polls: All You Need To Know

For the first time in 2013, a civilian government in Pakistan completed its five-year term.

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Pakistan Goes To Historic Polls: All You Need To Know
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Pakistan Goes To Historic Polls: All You Need To Know
outlookindia.com
2018-07-25T11:47:23+05:30

Pakistanis will go to the polls on Wednesday to elect a new prime minister in the second democratic transition of power in the nation's 70-year chequered history amid accusations of manipulation by the powerful army and concerns over the participation of Islamic hardliners in large numbers.

According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), 3,459 candidates are contesting for 272 general seats of the National Assembly, while 8,396 candidates are running for 577 general seats of the four provincial assemblies - Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

There are 105.96 million registered voters in the country. The voting on more than 85,000 polling stations will start at 8.00 am and will continue till 6.00 pm. The counting of votes will be done on the spot soon after polling is concluded and results will be announced within 24 hours.

For the first time in 2013, a civilian government in Pakistan completed its five-year term.

As the second democratic transition of power is just around the corner, the ECP has taken elaborate measures to ensure that elections are held peacefully and in a fair and transparent manner.

More than 1.6 million polling staff will perform duties on the election day. About 400,000 police officers and 371,000 army troops have been deployed across the country.

The election campaign concluded at midnight on Monday after about two months. All parties have claimed that they will grab most of the seats.

For the first time in 2013, a civilian government in Pakistan completed its five-year term.

A fierce battle is expected between former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's PML-N and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in Punjab, the most populous province often known for deciding the next government in the country.

READ ALSO: The Pathan Suits: Can Imran Khan Lay A New Path For Pakistan’s Fractured Polity?

Despite a massive electoral exercise, there is a big question if the election would bring much needed political and economic stability in the country.

KEY PLAYERS

  • Shehbaz Sharif (PML-N)-Nawaz Sharif's brother and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif is likely to be the party's choice for Prime Minister if it wins.  While addressing a rally at Basti Talpur on the last day of campaigning on Monday, Shehbaz said that Nawaz eliminated darkness from Pakistan and took the country to great heights. 
  •  Imran Khan (PTI)-  Khan has pledged to break the decades-old two party "status quo" of PML-N and its historical rival the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) -- led by Bilawal Bhutto -- which is expected to finish third place. Imran’s journey took 22 long years. But it finally seems that he might just get a seat at the power table.  
  • Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (Pakistan's Peoples Party(PPP)- Asking voters to support him Bhutto said  "I am out on streets to save Pakistan." He is the chairperson of PPP and is a contestant from Malakand, Larkana and Karachi South 1 constituencies in Pakistan.  On his last day of campaigning, Bilawal urged the people to support him like they supported his grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.  He further declared "I will complete the mission of Benazir Bhutto".
  • Some of the infamous Pakistani extremist leaders, accused of spreading religious hatred and instigating sectarian violence, are among hundreds of candidates contesting the elections.  The leading among them are Mumbai-terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led banned Jamat-ud Dawa's candidates who are fighting with an aim to make Pakistan a "citadel of Islam." Saeed's son and son-in-law are contesting the elections.
(Agencies)

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