Pakistan election 2018: Who will be the next Prime Minister of Pakistan?
Voting begins for Pakistan general elections 2018 to elect a new prime minister in only the second democratic transition of power in the country’s 70-year coup-studded history.
The voting on more than 85,000 polling stations has begun at 8.00 am local time and will continue till 6.00 pm local time. The counting of votes will be done on the spot after polling is concluded and results will be announced within 24 hours.
The military has ruled Pakistan through various coups for nearly half of the country’s history since independence in 1947.
The Election Commission has been criticised for deploying the army both inside and outside of polling stations.
Army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa assured that soldiers deployed for election duties would strictly comply with the code of conduct given by the poll body. He also said the army will only perform a facilitative role in the polls and that the polling process is to remain under the control and authority of the Election Commission.
A fierce battle is expected between Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the chief of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in Punjab.
Mr Sharif, who was jailed this month after being convicted in a corruption case, has accused the military of pressuring the judiciary to convict him.
Controversy has also arisen over allowing terrorists groups to participate in the elections.
Some of the Pakistani extremist leaders, accused of spreading religious hatred and instigating 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.