Crucial by-polls underway across Pakistan

Crucial by-polls underway across Pakistan
Pakistani men sit near a poster of Pakistan’s cricketer-turned-politician and head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party Imran Khan in Islamabad on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 14 October 2018

Crucial by-polls underway across Pakistan

Crucial by-polls underway across Pakistan
  • More than 1,700 polling stations declared sensitive for Sunday’s event
  • Results could affect the slim majority PM Khan’s coalition government enjoys

ISLAMABAD: Polling has begun in the in 35 constituencies countrywide in Pakistan, on Sunday, which will continue till 05:00 PM (local time) without any break.

As the polling is continues in crucial by-elections, the question remains on the minds of many – who will emerge as the most popular party once the ballots are sealed?

With more than 100 candidates — from 35 constituencies of the national and provincial assemblies — contesting the by-polls, the race is tough for the top contestants vying for the hot seat. For the purpose, the Election Commission of Pakistan has set up 7,400 polling stations, with 1,727 identified as highly sensitive.

Army personnel are manning the polling stations, both inside and outside, and will be responsible for security; ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) and opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are the main players in today’s by-elections in country’s populist province Punjab.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party secured 116 seats in the National Assembly (NA) in the July 25 general elections. It became the largest party in the lower house of parliament after more than 25 independent winners joined PTI. PM Khan, also bagged five NA seats in the same elections but decided to keep his hometown seat of Mianwali. 

Prime Minister Imran Khan vacated four seats in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and Bannu are a keenly watched constituencies.

Former Prime Minister and senior member of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, is contesting the election from Lahore on the NA seat vacated by Hamza Shehbaz who has taken up the role of opposition leader in the Punjab assembly. 

Six of the 11 national seats were won by PTI in the general elections, while the PML-N came in second place.

The results of Sunday’s by-elections could have an impact on the slim majority that PM Khan’s coalition government holds in the NA, considering the fact that the PML-N and PTI are the main players from the Punjab province.