Election campaign ends, historic voting tomorrow

Source:  ARY News Published in Current Affairs on Tuesday, July 24, 2018

KARACHI: The high-intensity election campaign, marred by a series of blasts, came to a close last night as the nation goes to historic polls to exercise their right to franchise on Wednesday (tomorrow).

Election will take place on July 25 (tomorrow) and voting will continue from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm without any break.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) caped their electioneering last night by holding massive rallies in different parts of the country as a last-ditch attempt to persuade voters to vote for their candidates.

The election candidates, however, are allowed to do door-to-door campaigning today.

The election campaign picked up a month ago, witnessing multiple terror attacks targeting election-related activities and candidates but political parties and assembly aspirants remained undeterred and continued with their canvassing to cultivate voters’ support.

Over 100 million voters to exercise voting right in elections

The ECP has 105,955,409 registered voters with 59,224,263 male and 46,731,146 female voters. According to final electoral rolls-2018 shared by the election commission, out of total registered voters 60,672,870 were from Punjab, 22,391,244 voters were from Sindh, 15,316,299 voters from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 4,299,494 voters from Balochistan, 2,510,154 voters from FATA and 765,348 voters from federal capital.

In Punjab, district Lahore has 5,398,623 voters which is the highest votes in the province while lowest votes are in district Hafizabad which are 684,447.

In Sindh, the highest 1.86m voters are registered in Karachi Central, followed by 1.66m in Karachi West and 1.43m in Karachi East. Larkana has 703,255 voters and Shaheed Benazirabad has 775,613 voters.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, there are 15,316,299 registered voters in the province.

1,693,386 voters are registered in Peshawar which is the highest number of votes in the province while district Torghar has the least number of votes of 90,414.

Balochistan have 4,299,494 registered votes and district Quetta stands first in terms of the highest number of 683,957 voters, while district Sherani has the lowest registered voters of 39,753.

FATA has 2,510,154 registered votes, while Islamabad’s number stands at 765,348 votes.

Elections 2018: Will Pakistan witness a historic turnout on July 25?

Amid all hustle bustles in general elections that Pakistan witnessed since 1970, one point has been in the national debates over the period of time and that is ‘low turnout of voters’.

The voting turnout has been declining after the first direct general elections of 1970 when the country observed the biggest 63 percent turnout of voters and this time it is a test case for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and all other stakeholders to achieve maximum participation of voters on July 25, 2018.

According to data provided by the ECP, the turnout of general elections held in 2013 was 53.02 percent as compared to the situation in the national ballot of 2008 with a 44.23 percent turnout.

The turnout of 2013 election indicates the possible circumstances of bringing the turnout to more than 60 percent whereas it needs to mobilize, educate and make people realize their fundamental right to elect and decide the future of the country as their civic duty.

Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) started a campaign to create awareness amongst the voters till the polling day.

According to the commission, the voters are required to bring their original computerized national identity card on the polling day to cast their vote. Green ballot papers are for the National Assembly seats while white for the provincial assemblies’ seats.

The Election Commission has also launched SMS service through which the voters by sending their CNIC number on 8300 can get details about their polling station.

A result transmission system has also been introduced through which the polling staff by using an application in their cell phones will send election results directly to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

According to ECP’s instructions the State Bank of Pakistan and other private banks have published the advertisement of the commission motivating the public to cast their vote in the general elections not as a common practice rather a national obligation. It has been observed that all the banks have displayed the add on their automated teller machines (ATMs) or cashpoints.

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