ASIATODAY.ID, JAKARTA – The 12th election in Pakistan was declared closed after being marked by mass protests alleging pre-voting manipulation, termination of cellular services and bomb explosions which resulted in 9 people being killed.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) stated that vote counting began immediately after the closing of polling stations on Thursday evening, February 8 2024 local time.
After closing polling stations, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said in a statement that the election was a “momentous event”.
Kakar also praised the enthusiasm of the Pakistani people and expressed appreciation for their participation in the voting process.
“The high number of voters is a clear indication of the public’s commitment to shaping the future of our country,” he said, quoted from Aljazeera, Saturday, February 10 2024.
Three-time former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is considered the strongest candidate.
Speaking to the media, Sharif stated that he had never had any problems with the Pakistani military, despite having had differences of opinion in the past.
His path to the post of Prime Minister was only opened after his arch rival, former Prime Minister Imran Khan, was banned from participating in the elections due to corruption charges.
Khan is currently in prison and serving a series of sentences for various charges. The ECP had even taken on Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), but they still managed to field independent candidates in a coordinated campaign.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had earlier cast his vote in Sindh province, where the party has a huge vote share.
PPP hopes to surprise and disrupt predictions by emerging victorious in the elections.
Before voting began Thursday, February 8 2024 at 08.00 am local time, the government announced to stop cellular services in Pakistan under the pretext of security.
However, there were a number of bomb blasts during the day, killing nine people in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the southwestern province of Balochistan. Two bomb explosions occurred on Wednesday, February 7 2024 in Balochistan at the election offices of two candidates, killing 27 people.
On the other hand, many Pakistanis hope that this election will produce a government capable of bringing stability to their country, considering that the country is facing an economic crisis and a volatile security situation with more than 1,000 people killed in attacks last year.
However, analysts have warned that the next government may struggle to gain legitimacy, due to Khan’s targeting.
Moreover, without the trust of the Pakistani people, analysts say, the next Prime Minister may find it difficult to take steps to help the country overcome its various challenges. (ATN)
Check out other news and articles at Google News