Millions of Pakistanis vote today to elect a new government and prime minister. Pakistan election is seen as a two-way race between Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League. No doubt, the race to be the country’s next prime minister is tight.
Fact check of Pakistan elections 2018 (source: Election Commission of Pakistan):
Total candidates: 105,955,407
Women candidates: 59,224,262
National Assembly candidates: 3,765
Polling stations: 85,000
2013 voter turnout: 55 per cent
Here are 7 things to know about the elections.
1. There are about 106 million registered voters in the country. Hundreds of thousands of police and military forces have been stationed at more than 85,000 polling stations across the country
2. The military has ruled Pakistan through various coups for nearly half of the country’s history since independence in 1947.
3. Questions were raised about the role of the military after reports that it was given magisterial powers. The Election Commission was also criticised for deploying the army both inside and outside of polling stations.
4. A total of 3,459 candidates are contesting the 272 general seats in the National Assembly while 8,396 are running for 577 general seats of the four provincial assemblies – Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
5. Controversy has also arisen over allowing terrorists groups to participate in 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.
6. Pakistan’s foreign policy, including strategic ties with the US and China and its turbulent relations with India, is controlled by the military and so no matter who wins, no major changes will be expected on those fronts.
7. The military has deployed more than 370,000 troops to ensure security on polling day, but there are fears of further attacks after a bombing killed 150 people in the southwestern district of Mastun
Who are the candidates?
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) – Former leader Nawaz Sharif is serving 1o year jail sentence over corruption allegations that came from the Panama Papers leak. Sharif’s brother Shehbaz now leads the party.
The populist Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)party – Led by the former cricketer Imran Khan.
The centre-left, secular Pakistan People’s party (PPP)- Led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of the assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
What is the magic figure?
There are in all 272 seats for direct election and 70 reserved seats in the National Assembly. To form government, a party/alliance has to get 172 of the 342 seats.
Source- NDTV, One India, HT
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