Voting begins in Pakistan amid high security
Election staff gather at a distribution centre to receive polling material for elections in Peshawar on Tuesday. ─ AP

Voting begins in Pakistan amid high security

More than 100 million people are expected to head to the polls in a crucial election

Pakistan remains on high alert as voting for the general election started on Wednesday morning.

The polling, which started at eight in the morning, will continue till six in the evening without any break.

July 25 has been declared a public holiday so that the people could exercise their right to vote without any hindrance.

As many as 375,000 troops and at least 450,000 policemen will perform security duty on election day as campaigning has been marred by violence and terrorist attacks which has killed hundreds in a series of attacks. The armed forces personnel have been deployed to ensure smooth and safe general elections 2018 and assist the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in conducting transparent elections, according to the statement by army’s media wing, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Over 12,570 candidates from over 100 parties are vying for National Assembly and four provincial assemblies seats on the same day but the real combat is amongst three key political parties – Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Shahbaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Number of candidates for NA, provincial seats 

Out of 12,570 candidates are vying for the coveted seats. As many as 3,675 candidates are contesting for 272 general seats of the National Assembly whereas 8,895 are competing for 577 general seats of provincial legislatures. 

Women and Non-Muslims

A record number of 171 female candidates of a total 3,675 will run for National Assembly seats. Meanwhile, 44 non-Muslim candidates will struggle for National Assembly and 113 for provincial assemblies.

Voters and polling stations

Around 105.96 million voters out of the 200-million-population will cast their vote at 85,307 polling stations set up across the country, according to the electoral rolls. Over 20,000 polling stations have been declared sensitive where CCTV cameras have been installed inside and outside.

Election Observers

Nearly 53,000 international, national, local and media observers will monitor the upcoming general election. The EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) consisting of 86 members, headed by Michael Heinz Gahler MEP, will observe polls across Pakistan.

High security

As many as 450,000 policemen and 3,00,000 army troops have been deployed for the polling day. Pakistan Army has concluded deployment of troops across the country to provide mandated assistance to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for holding free, fair and transparent Elections 2018 in coordination with other law enforcement agencies and local administration.

Pakistan Elections in Numbers:

Political Parties: 122

Voters: 105.96 million

Political candidates: 12,570

Troops deployed: 375,000

Police deployed: 450,000

About Sana Jamal

Sana Jamal is a journalist from Pakistan who writes for local and international news media. She also manages Islamabad Scene
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