See More on Facebook

News

Pakistan goes to the polls today

Gallup Poll predicts a neck-and-neck contest between Imran Khan’s PTI and Nawaz Sharif’s PML(N) in Pakistan’s second civilian-to-civilian transfer of power.


Written by

Updated: July 25, 2018

Pakistan is holding its 11th general election today (July 25), with 105.95 million people expected to vote.

The big battle is between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

This will be the second civilian-to-civilian handover of power in the country’s history. The first smooth transitioning being witnessed in 2013.

However, the 11th general election is being seen as the dirtiest with allegations against the Pakistan’s powerful military of tampering.

The election is also being seen as the bloodiest with more than 179 people killed in a series of suicide attacks targeting election rallies. More than 154 people were killed in a single attack in the southwestern town of Mastung, the second deadliest attack ever on Pakistani soil, less than two weeks ago.

Voting began at 8am PST. A public holiday has been declared to enable people to vote. Around 371,388 army personnel have been deployed across 85,000 polling stations in the country to ensure no untoward incident occurs, a report in Dawn said.

Voters will elect 272 members of the lower house of parliament, as well as for the country’s four provincial assemblies. Results are expected to trickle in later during the day, the election commission said.

“We are trying our best to deliver free, fair and unbiased elections in Pakistan,” said Sardar Muhammad Raza, the chief election commissioner, on the eve of the polls.

The campaign season has seen a slew of allegations traded between the country’s top three parties, PML-N, PTI and PPP.

Earlier this month, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif – whose party swept to power in the 2013 general election – was arrested after being convicted by an anti-corruption court, along with his daughter Maryam seen as his political heir.

With Pakistan’s Supreme Court banning Nawaz from from holding public office for life, his younger brother Shahbaz, who has served as chief minister of Pakistan’s biggest province Punjab for three terms, is contesting the election as the party’s nominee for prime minister.

Leaders of the PML-N and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s son – Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s PPP – have accused the country’s powerful military of intimidating supporters and forcing candidates to switch allegiances, media reports said. Benazir Bhutto was assassinated months before the ninth general elections in December 2007.  

At least 20 PML-N members defected the party in the weeks leading to the vote, either joining the PTI or choosing to run as independent candidates.

The PTI, led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, is seen as backed by the military, even as the party has dismissed these charges.

Khan decided to give politics a shot after his career in cricket ended in the 1990s. However, he got seen as a serious political contender only in 2013. He lost by a huge margin to the PML-N in the last elections, but stands a good chance to become Pakistan’s next prime minister.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), an independent watchdog, has described the election as “the dirtiest in the country’s history”. It has also expressed concern at the curbs imposed on media freedom.

According to Dawn, a poll conducted by Gallup Pakistan based on data from five separate polls carried out in the months leading up to the July 25 elections forecasts that the PTI will likely emerge as the largest party on the national level, but that it will be followed closely by the embattled PML-N in terms of vote.

The research organisation concluded that the 12 per cent undecided voters may tilt the balance of the election in Punjab, the country’s largest province, thus ultimately determining the fate of the next federal government.

Also adding to the uncertainty are allegations that not all political parties are being provided with a level playing field ahead of the polls.

“There is [a] considerable display of judicial and para-judicial activity culminating in arrests, disqualifications and judgments which cause concern among all key contestants, except the front-runner of the polling data, PTI,” Gallup Pakistan observed.

The “poll of polls” released a day ahead of countrywide general elections constitutes the average of poll findings by five different polling organisations and publishers: Gallup Pakistan, Institute for Public Opinion Research, Sustainable Development Policy Institute/Herald, Pulse Consultants and Roshan Pakistan.

“The conclusion shared by nearly all pollsters is that it is an unpredictable election,” Gallup Pakistan wrote in its report.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Lamat R Hasan
About the Author: Lamat is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

News

India’s cyber legislation is part of a worrying trend

International technology firms face sweeping new regulations in India that have the potential to create major shifts in the country’s cyber landscape. The new pieces of legislation were proposed as 2018 came to a close and require technology companies like Facebook and Google to store user data locally, and would also require these companies to police content and remove material the government of India deems unlawful.  Such content would include messages that threaten the “sovereignty and integrity of India.” The rules requires these companies to take action on such messages within a 24 hour period. Such regulations that require companies to monitor content isn’t unique to India. Vietnam has recently passed similar laws, with similar potential consequences. New rules also mandate that companies reveal the origin of particular messages when that information is requested. If that section of t


By Quinn Libson
January 17, 2019

News

What does Vietnam’s new cyber law mean for online dissent?

Will Facebook kowtow to the Vietnamese government to keep its market share. Facebook is in violation of a Vietnamese new cybersecurity law by allowing its users to post content critical of the communist government on its platform, the Ministry of Information and Communication announced on Wednesday of last week. The news came just days after the law went into effect on Jan. 1. The new legislation requires internet companies to comply with government demands to remove user-posted material it doesn’t like. The law also stipulates that information technology companies—Facebook and Google for instance—may be required to set up local offices and store customer data domestically, a feature which human rights advocates worry might make it easier for the government to track and charge dissidents for their online activities. This new legislation follows a pattern of increasing digital scrutiny by th


By Quinn Libson
January 15, 2019

News

2019 is a year for major Chinese anniversaries

President Xi Jinping delivered a major speech on Wednesday on Taiwan, one of the hottest button issues for the country. The speech took place to acknowledge the 40th anniversary of a the “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan,” a crucial policy statement issued on Jan. 1, 1979 by the National People’s Congress that helped lead to a rapprochement between Mainland China and Taiwan. Xi’s speech sent a stern warning to those that advocate for Taiwan’s independence, including Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, who is up for re-election in January 2020, and her supporters. “It is a historical and legal fact, that Taiwan is part of China and the two sides across Taiwan Straits belong to one and the same China, can never be altered


By Quinn Libson
January 8, 2019

News

Preview: A year of elections for Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia will have a busy political calendar in 2019 with voters in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines heading to the polls within the year. Thailand In December, Thailand lifted its ban on political activity that has been in place for the past four years as the kingdom prepares for a general election on Feb 24—the country’s first in eight years. The last election the country attempted, in 2014, was sabotaged by anti-government protesters acted to prevent the Pheu Thai Party and its head Yingluck Shinawatra from returning to power. Pheu Thai went on to be ousted by a coup led by then-army chief General Prayut Chan-o-cha and has spent the last five years under military rule. Since then, the military junta has rewritten the Thai Constitution in a wa


By Quinn Libson
January 7, 2019

News

Ghosn charged with falsifying reports

Ghosn and an associated remain in jail on charges of tax avoidance and falsifying reports. Carlos Ghosn, former chairman of Nissan Motor Co., his aide Greg Kelly, former representative director of Nissan, and the automaker itself were charged on Monday with falsifying the firm’s securities reports. Also on Monday, Ghosn, 64, and Kelly, 62, were rearrested by the special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office on suspicion of underreporting more of Ghosn’s income. Ghosn and Kelly were initially arrested on Nov. 19 on suspicion of violating the law by allegedly conspiring to underreport Ghosn’s executive remuneration in the company’s securities reports by a total of about ¥5 billion from the business year ending March 2011 to that ending March 2015. Prosecutors believe the actual amount of his pay was about ¥10 billion. The pair denied the allegations during qu


By The Japan News
December 11, 2018

News

Air crash investigation could take up to six months

Preliminary report to be out in about a month, as search for black boxes continues. Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) said its probe into the crash of Lion Air Flight JT610 may take up to six months, as the search for the black box flight recorders continued into its third day yesterday. A preliminary report of the investigations, however, will be released in about a month, said KNKT chief Soerjanto Tjahjono. A complete study may take up to six months, he added. Dr Soerjanto’s comments yesterday came amid widespread anticipation that divers might have recovered a black box from the ill-fated flight, after news broke that a part of the fuselage was found in the search area earlier in the day. Indonesian Armed Forces chief Hadi Tjahjanto had said a large object, suspected to be a key part of the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet that crashed


By The Straits Times
November 1, 2018