Ballot over bullets: Pakistan awaits election results
Pakistan is just hours away from electing its third successive government and there’s a chance of hung parliament, but up till now Imran Khan’s PTI is seen sweeping the pre-polls election surveys
Pakistan is just hours away from electing its third successive government through efforts to hold a fair and transparent general election across the country, after stamping down rumours of postponement and military engineering headlines had flooded the international media, but elections have sailed through it.
Home to 207 million people, the country is the sixth most populated in the world and carries an immense importance geo-politically in the South Asian region, especially for India. Of the total, 105 million voters are heading to storm the polling booths to cast their vote at 8 am this morning and will run till 6 pm, until the unofficial results are out by 8.00 pm, however, the official version may be as late as 2 am, next day. However, an unfortunate event struck the very fine of Election Day, when in earlier hours a bomb was detonated near a polling station in Pakistan’s most troubled province of Baluchistan-Quetta, calming the lives of 29 people including two policeman, amid of almost 800,000 military and police forces deployed at some 85,000 polling stations across the country.
Hopes are high across the country to see Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, paving his way to the Prime-Minster house with edge to edge victory at national level as opposed to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), according to latest public opinion polls and surveys by Sustainable Development Policy Institute ( SDPI). Across Pakistan, Khan’s PTI is ahead PML-N by four percentage points, whereas PPP’s stooped popularity has caused PML-N to lead by five percentage point. Unfortunately, the dilemma for 13 percent of the electorate is yet to decide, who to vote for, after they are left with an exhaustive option.
To PML-N tiger’s consternation they had a setback in their national voters after the National accountability Court convicting most popular leader of (PML-N) and deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif; landing the duo father and daughter Marium Nawaz to jail, on their comeback from London to their political hub- Lahore-Pakistan.
However, PML-N this year might again turn the table with their unexpected victories in Punjab province leading PTI by seven points- known as the key battleground to win this Election as per SDPI survey. Thus, it is crucial for all three mainstream political parties including Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to win majority seats out of 141 of Punjab, contributing approximately 55 percent share in total 272 contestable seats of National Assembly than the other three provinces to form government at the center. Meanwhile, outside the central Punjab PTI has surged to five percent, and have a chance to take a lead in polls against the other political parties.
“There is a chance of hung parliament, but up till now PTI is seen sweeping the pre-polls election surveys and its efforts to amass the support of people of varying age brackets, might conclude these elections. With the recent conviction of Nawaz, PML-N has lost its support throughout the country, except for Punjab where they might be able to perform well but uncertain until the official results are announced, said Taimur Shamil-a political analyst in an interview with National Herald .
Meanwhile, the scenes outside Punjab is heavily dominated by PTI. Provinces such as Baluchistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) has depicted a sharp decline in support of PML-N, as opposed to almost 40 percent support in Punjab but their voters have declined to 11 percent in Baluchistan, 10 percent in KPK and a mere 4 percent in Sindh. To the contrary, PTI is yet gain sweeping, its last ruled province KPK with a support of 42 percent and with the consistent dominance of PPP in Sindh, they have a chance to once again rule this province with 54 percent respondents backing it, opposed to their challengers Grand democratic alliance and PTI to make its way to the parliament.
The scenes outside Punjab is heavily dominated by PTI. Provinces such as Baluchistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) has depicted a sharp decline in support of PML-N, as opposed to almost 40 percent support in Punjab but their voters have declined to 11 percent in Baluchistan, 10 percent in KPK and a mere 4 percent in Sindh
The recent survey results are corroborated by an ardent political worker of PPP Faiza Yaseen, who said-“PPP has regained the lost trust of its voters across the country and I am definitely sure that there will be a venture between both PTI and PPP to form a coalition government at the center however, Imran Khan's earlier statement of no alliance with PPP, if even hung parliament emerges will soon be refuted by them, because Khan will be left with no option except us to opt” in an interview with National Herald India.
In Baluchistan, none of the aforementioned political party has a stronghold, except for regional parties- Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Baluchistan National Party (BNP) and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP). However, with the recent terror attack made on BAP’s Chairman Brother Mir Siraj Khan Raisani, who succumbed to his injuries, they have a chance to win the maximum seats in provincial assembly as opposed to others.
However, the right wing of Pakistani politics can’t be ignored, as they form the major faction of this society. The radical Islamist parties such as Muslim Mili Amal (MMA) – birthed after the grand alliance of the five Islamist political parties, aiming to Islamise the country are uncertain whether they would be able to win substantial seats, after the country is looking forward to a new change, but many banned outfits such as Hafiz Saeed’s political wing Muslim Milli League (MML) contestants had earlier switched over to a new platform : Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek (AAT), which is already registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to get a chance to land in parliament, has raised an eyebrow. Moreover, Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) led by khadim Rizvi, had once gained the popularity through staging a protest to sabotage Pakistan, by raising his voice against the government illegitimate act to relax the blasphemy laws in Pakistan, may get secure seats in provincial assembly Of Punjab.
“I don’t see any of the radical Islamist parties securing maximum seats in the parliament, except in the Punjab, where they might win few a seats, due to their presence and the slogans they had chanted earlier to gain an emotional vote,” said Taimur Shami.
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- Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
- Pakistan People’s Party
- Imran Khan
- Hafeez Saeed
- Muslim Milli League
- Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
- Pakistan Elections
- Former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif
- Balochistan Awami Party
- Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz
- Baluchistan- Quetta
- Baluchistan National Party
- Mir Siraj Khan Raisani
- Muslim Mili Amal
- Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek
- Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan