The voting time for the 11th general elections in Pakistan officially ended at 6 pm (local time) on Wednesday.
People who are inside the polling stations will still be able to exercise their franchise.
According to The Dawn, counting has started at many polling stations.
As per the guidelines of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the results are not expected to be announced till 7 pm (local time).
Voting began at 8 am (local time), during which most of Pakistan’s nearly 106 million people came out to cast their votes.
Polling took place in the country’s 85,307 polling stations, out of which 17,007 were declared as “highly sensitive.” As many as 12,570 candidates are contesting for 272 national and 577 provincial assembly seats in Pakistan’s 11th general election.
In some remote places of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), many women, who were initially not allowed to vote were seen standing in long queues to exercise their franchise for the first time ever, according to several Pakistani media reports.
Voting was marred by reports of electoral violence and clashes, which led to casualties. In some places, voting had to be temporarily halted.
Earlier today morning, 31 people were killed in a suicide blast outside a polling station near Eastern Bypass in Balochistan’s Quetta.
Many prominent political leaders also came out and exercised their franchise. They posted pictures and videos showing off their inked thumbs on social media.
Also, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief and Mumbai 26/11 attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed on Wednesday cast his vote in Lahore.
Saeed’s son, son-in-law and 13 women are among 265 Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) candidates are contesting on Allah-u-Akbar Tehreek (AAT) platform on national and provincial assemblies’ seats across Pakistan.
Saeed’s son Hafiz Talha Saeed is contesting from NA-91 block and son-in-law, Khalid Waleed, is a candidate in PP-167 block.
Many political parties, such as Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had written to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to extend the polling time, citing the “slowness” in voting. However, the pleas were turned down by the ECP.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday issued a notice to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan for voting publicly at his NA-53 constituency and in front of the cameras, which is a violation of the electoral body’s code of conduct.
The electoral process in Pakistan saw a twist after a video surfaced which showed PTI chief Imran Khan casting his vote in full public view.
The PTI party rubbished reports of its chairman Imran Khan’s vote at NA-53 seat being null and void.
In a statement, the PTI said that Khan did not violate any election rules. Furthermore, it also hit out at the ECP of not discharging its function to curb the spread of unverified media reports.
Failure to maintain the secrecy of vote leads to a punishment of six months in jail and a fine of 1,000 Pakistani rupees, according to Section 185 of the Election Act 2017, The Dawn reported.
Earlier, the ECP stated that the media discussions pertaining to Khan and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif were a violation code of conduct.
Show-cause notices to various news channels have been issued by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), and representatives of the channels now have to submit written replies and appear for a hearing on July 31.
The PEMRA had directed private TV channels to stop airing any content related to the country’s general elections.
In the 2013 elections, the PML-N, led by former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, emerged as the largest party with 166 seats out of a total of 342 in the National Assembly.
Although the seats were short of a majority, Sharif was able to form a government after several independents joined his party.
However, Sharif was disqualified as the Prime Minister and as a Member of the National Assembly in July last year after the Panama Papers case decision.
After Sharif’s disqualification, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was elected as 18th Prime Minister of Pakistan by the National Assembly in August 2017.
Sharif and his daughter, Maryam, are currently lodged in Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail, after being convicted in the Avenfield reference case earlier this month.