Islamabad: The high voltage Pakistan’s general election is under way across the country amid tight security on Wednesday. More than 200 people have died in the election campaigning including thirty that were killed in a suicide bomb attack on Wednesday in Quetta on polling day.
The first vote was cast in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Charsadda, Pakistan daily Dawn reported.
As a precautionary security measure, about 4,00,000 police officers and 371,388 Army personnel have been deployed at the 85,000 polling stations.
The battle is set to come down to three parties: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
A bomb blast in Quetta has left almost 30 killed as police convoy was targeted and according to Geo News the bomber wanted to enter the polling station.
The attack was targeted, as part of pattern on DIG Abdul Razzak Cheema’s, who is reported to be safe.
Though polling started at 0800 hrs, enthusiastic citizens ween seen queuing up outside their respective stations as early as 0700 hrs. Voting will continue till 1800 hrs.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar cast his vote at a polling station in Lahore, according to reports. Following that, he headed towards the Supreme Court registry in the city.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan cast his vote at Dhoke Jilani polling station in NA-53 Islamabad. He urged people to come out and vote, according to ARY News. “It is very crucial election in the history of Pakistan,” he said while underscoring the importance of the duty to vote. On the election results, Khan said: “Whoever is better for the country may win.”
Adiala jail authorities denied voting right to incarcerated prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz. In the jail, some 93 prisoners exercised their right to franchise.
A record number of troops have been deployed at polling stations at the ECP’s request to maintain law and order and take action against harassment.
The high-voltage campaign was marred by violence, including an IS-claimed attack on July 13 that killed nearly 150 people, and dominated by political controversies over the arrest of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
(With inputs from Network 18, NDTV, Geo news, Ary News)