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

As AIDS Epidemic Matures, Workplaces Adapt

Issue of AIDS in workplace is one of many social issues being discussed at the 20th International Aids Conference in Australia More

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid