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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid