By Prarthana Mitra
With over 105 million registered voters, 1.6 million electoral staff, 800,000 security
personnel and three leading candidates, Pakistan went to polls on Wednesday.
Women in Bayzai sub-division of Mohmand Tribal District (ex-Fata), 5 kilometres from the Afghan border got out to vote for the first time. (My hometown as well) #GeneralElection2018 pic.twitter.com/uTgBr2xMQ3
Iftikhar Firdous (@IftikharFirdous) July 25, 2018
Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khans PTI has the lead as the counting of votes continues.
.@ImranKhanPTI‘s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ahead as votes are counted in Pakistan’s high-stakes polls.
NDTV (@ndtv) July 25, 2018
Run-up to the D-Day
After the dirtiest campaign in the countrys history, millions of Pakistanis braved alleged
pressure and threats from the Armed Forces, to vote in a new Prime Minister.
Hoping for a rare democratic and the countrys second civilian-to-civilian transition of
power, frontrunners Shehbaz Sharif (PML-N), Imran Khan (PTI) and Bilawal Bhutto (PPP)
ran for 272 contestable seats in Pakistans parliamentary and provincial elections. All three
mainstream political parties are equally confident of getting the highest number of votes and
seats, but the people of Pakistan have made that decision for them.
In Lyari, where it seems to be still PPP dominant. pic.twitter.com/fI5U9dNYHZ
Alia Chughtai (@AliaChughtai) July 25, 2018
Key moments from the day
PTIs Imran Khan who managed to swing a lot of voters and rival politicians over to his side
in the run-up, cast his vote in Islamabad last morning, urging voters to exercise their
democratic right. “Today I urge all of Pakistan to get out and vote; just vote for any party,” he
told reporters, before adding, “This is the most important election in this country’s history. It’s
an opportunity to defeat the status quo.”
Closing at 6 PM, the polls enjoyed a high turnout but not without sporadic violence despite
military surveillance being on high alert.
In the western city of Quetta, a suicide attack near the polling station killed 29 people
including two policemen. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS)
group later claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Al Jazeera. In Swabi, a
shooting incident between two rival parties, purportedly Awami National Party and PTI, left
one dead and two others injured.
Here’s what you need to know about Pakistan’s election day blast that killed at least 29 people. pic.twitter.com/YqyJT4YlnM
Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) July 25, 2018
74-year-old Amna Bibi told Al Jazeera that she was voting for the PTI in Lahore’s NA-125
constituency, as she believes Imran Khan can bring change to Pakistan. Rabia Nusrat, on the
other hand, voted for PML-N because she believes that the former party leader Nawaz Sharif
was unjustly convicted for corruption earlier this month.
800,000 security personnel deployed for #ElectionPakistan2018
371,000 soldiers at the request of the Election Commission of #Pakistan.
They’re meant to assist in conduction impartial, free and fair polls.
After criticism ECP took back magisterial powers from soldiers @AJEnglish pic.twitter.com/eUMZgGRb5z
Osama Bin Javaid (@osamabinjavaid) July 25, 2018
In Lahore, fast food restaurant owner and PTI supporter Waqas Jamshed asked, “As long as
there is corruption, how can there be development?”
Voicing his support for the Sharifs, Shahid Bashir argued, “With the PML-N, we see them
doing some work,” The 50-year-old who has been driving a rickshaw in Lahore for the last 18
years added pragmatically, “Look, everyone steals a bit, but at least with the PML-N we can
see the work being done.
Another PML-N voter Younis Naseeb alleged, Now our army, our intelligence agencies and
the judiciary are taking sides in politics, they have become touts for the PTI," echoing
widespread allegations that the Pakistans powerful military pressurised politicians ahead of
Whether cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan can displace PML-Ns run in Punjab, the
political heartland of Pakistan, remains to be seen. But voters are certainly enthusiastic about
change, after the slew of corruption charges levied against former Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif. And they believe Imran Khan can be the face of that change.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius