Voters swarm booths in search of 'Naya' Pakistan

July 25, 2018 12:44 PM

Islamabad, July 25: Millions of registered voters are flocking to polling stations across the country to cast their vote in Pakistan’s 11th general election. According to DawnNewsTV, the first vote was cast in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Charsadda.

The battle is set to come down to three parties: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

The polling process witnessed its first incidence of violence around 11am when a blast targeting law enforcers was reported in NA-260 in Quetta’s Eastern bypass area. SSP operations Naseebullah confirmed the blast. According to sources in Quetta Civil Hospital, 15 people have been killed and more than 24 injured in the blast.

Earlier, according to AP, a shooting between supporters of two opposing political parties left one person dead and wounded two people in a village near the northwestern city of Swabi.

While polling stations officially opened for voting at 8am, enthusiastic citizens queued up outside their respective stations as early as 7am.
PML-N Chief Shahbaz Sharif was among the first people to cast his vote. Speaking to the media outside the polling station in Model Town, Lahore, he requested that people come out and vote for PML-N.

Other politicians and candidates, including former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Muttahida Qaumi Movement - Pakistan's (MQM-P) Farooq Sattar and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) Chairman Mustafa Kamal, have also taken part in the polling process.
At 371,388, a record number of troops have been deployed at polling stations at the ECP’s request to maintain law and order and take action against harassment.

Polling stations will remain open for voting till 6pm, as per the deadline announced by the ECP for voters.
In all, 11,673 candidates are in the run, 3,428 for National Assembly and 8,245 for provincial assembly seats.

The statistics shared with the media reveal that independent candidates outnumber the candidates fielded by political parties. The number of candidates fielded by parties is 5,661 while the number of independent candidates in the race is 6,012.

For National Assembly seats, 1,623 candidates are in the race, 1,805 of them fielded by political parties and 1,623 independents. KP is the only province where the number of independent candidates for National Assembly seats is higher than those fielded by parties.

For National Assembly seats, parties have fielded 820 candidates in Punjab, 441 in Sindh, 335 in KP, 173 in Balochistan and 36 in the federal capital. The number of independent candidates for National Assembly seats includes 714 from Punjab, 373 from Sindh, 386 from KP, 117 from Balochistan and 33 from the federal capital.

For provincial assembly seats, 8,245 candidates are in the run, 3,856 fielded by parties and 4,389 contesting independently. The number of independent candidates is higher for Punjab and Sindh assemblies than the party ticket holders. As many as 2,256 independents and 1,719 party ticket holders are contesting Punjab Assem­bly seats while 1,186 independents and 993 party candidates are in the run for Sindh Assembly seats. In KP and Balochistan there are 675 and 469 party ticket holders and 470 and 477 independents, respectively.

Of the 120 parties enlisted with the ECP, 95 are contesting elections and seven of these 95 parties have failed to meet the mandatory requirement of awarding five per cent party tickets for general seats to women.
There are 105,955,409 registered voters, including 59,222,927 male, 46,730,569 female voters besides 1,913 transgender voters, of whom 1,356 are in Punjab alone.

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