Pakistan elections 2018: 10 things to know as the country goes to polls

No Pakistani prime minister has ever completed his or her term. Here are 10 more things to know about Pakistan elections 2018.

world Updated: Jul 24, 2018 23:47 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Pakistan Election 2018 Live Coverage,Bilawal Bhutton Zardari,Imran Khan
Banners of election candidates from political parties are displayed on poles on a highway in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Tuesday, July 24.(AP Photo)

Pakistan’s 106 million registered voters will have the chance to choose a new parliament and provincial assemblies on Wednesday. Parliament has a five-year term, and the majority party or a coalition chooses a prime minister.

No Pakistani prime minister has ever completed his or her term.

Here are 10 things to know about the elections.

1. There are a total of 342 seats in the National Assembly. Out of the total seats in the National Assembly, elections are held for 272 seats 70 seats are reserved for religious minorities and women to be filled by proportional representation among parties with more than 5% of the vote.

2. A single party will need to bag at least 137 of the directly elected seats to form the government on its own.

3. 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.

4. Eligible voters can cast their ballots for two seats in each constituency: one for the National Assembly (the lower house of Parliament) and one for their Provincial Assembly (which runs their provincial government).

5. Opinion polls have put Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf a little ahead of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (N) while the Pakistan Peoples’ Party is a distant third.

6. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed its ‘grave concern’ over ‘unabashed attempts’ to manipulate the outcome of the elections after the PML-N alleged that its candidates and supporters have been urged to switch loyalties by people identifying themselves as intelligence or military officers across the country.

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

8. Candidates belonging to a large numbers of extremist and militant sectarian groups are also contesting the elections. The Jammat-ud-Dawah, declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014, has fielded 80 candidates for the National Assembly that includes Hafiz Saeed’s son Hafiz Talha Saeed and son-in-law Hafiz Khalid Waleed. Hafiz has a $10 million bounty on his head.

9. If the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (N) loses, the country could see only the second peaceful democratic transition of power in its history, after the 2013 handover.

10. 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.

First Published: Jul 24, 2018 18:44 IST