News / Asia

Pakistan Voters Head to Polls in Landmark Elections

Pakistan Voters Head to Polls in Landmark Electionsi
X
May 10, 2013 5:28 PM
Pakistan will hold landmark elections on Saturday, marking the first time in this country’s volatile history that a civilian government transfers power to another via the ballot box. Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad that despite threats and violence, many voters are determined to use their votes to bring about change to their country.

Pakistan Voters Head to Polls in Landmark Elections

Sharon Behn
— Pakistan is holding landmark elections Saturday, marking the first time in this country’s volatile history that a civilian government transfers power to another via the ballot box. Despite threats and violence, many voters are determined to use their votes to bring about change to their country.
 
The nationwide poll for a new national assembly and government leadership follows the bloodiest election campaign in Pakistan’s history. For weeks, militants and extremists bombed, shot at, killed, kidnapped and threatened political candidates and supporters in an attempt to derail a vote they call un-Islamic.
 
Despite the violence, student leader Muneer Jalib Baloch said people in Quetta are determined use the ballot to end the province’s separatist militancy.

What's at Stake?

  • Voters choose members of the National Assembly, or lower house parliament
  • 342 seats, 60 are reserved for women, 10 are reserved for religious minorities
  • Seats are distributed by region:
    Federally Administered Tribal Area -  12 seats
    Federal Capital, Islamabad - 2 seats
    Punjab Province - 183 seats
    Sindh Province - 75 seats
    Khyber Pakhtunkhaw Province -  43 seats
    Baluchistan Province - 17 seats

  • Voters also electing members of four provincial assemblies
“We don’t want the politics of guns, we can’t say if supporters of militancy will increase or decrease," he noted, " but our political efforts for the May 11 elections have received a great response because people have lost their loved ones. These issues will be resolved by the new government with our representatives there, God willing.”

The election front runner is Nawaz Sharif, 64, a veteran politician who served twice as prime minister and heads the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party.

"God willing, when your fate changes, then the destiny of the nation will also change," Sharif told supporters. "Young men, you are the architects of the future. The green flag of Pakistan is in your hands. Do not let it bend down."
 
Main Political Parties Fielding Candidates
  • Pakistan Peoples Party or PPP
  • Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz or PML-N
  • Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-i-Azam) or PML-Q
  • Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf or PTI

Regional and Ethnic Parties
  • Muttahida Quami Movement or MQM
  • Awami National Party or ANP
  • Baluchistan National Party (Mengal)
  • National Party

Religious Political Parties
  •  Jamaat-i-Islami (JI)
  • Jamiat Ulema Islam (Fazlur Rehman) or JUI-F.
Sharif is critical of Pakistan’s powerful military. He has vowed to root out corruption and favors peace talks with the Pakistan Taliban.
 
Running a close second is the party of cricket star turned politician, Imran Khan, who has broad support among youth and those fed up with the main political parties from the last government.

"I was given a chance by God to serve my nation," Khan told voters. " Now it's your turn to change your life. On the 11th think only about the country. If you want to change your and your children's fate you have to fight. You have to decide whether you want to go on like this or whether you want to make a new Pakistan."
 
Khan’s fall from a makeshift elevated stage during a political rally and his speech to the nation from his hospital bed has rallied many undecided voters to his side.
 
Analyst Muddassir Rizvi said despite support for figures like Sharif and Khan, political divisions in Pakistan make it unlikely that any one party will win a majority in the national assembly.
 
“A split parliament will mean a long, dragged out transition of power; a party who is expecting more seats getting less seats may yield post-election incidents that may turn violent - we cannot predict,”  Rizvi said.
 
Whatever government comes out of these elections, it will have an uphill battle to meet the people’s expectations for an end to Pakistan’s considerable economic, social, and militant problems.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: MUSTAFA from: PAKISTAN
May 10, 2013 11:34 PM
God given Pakistan so much that we cannot count, for which we are grateful to God. We just lack good leader ship from the begining after departure of Quaide Azam and Liaqat Ali in 48 & 51. We pray to God to give us good,honest,dedicated and hard work Govt to save us from unlimited problems.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid