In what can only be called as an irony, Pakistan, the country ruled by military dictators for more than half its existence, goes to ‘free and fair’ polls under the watchful eyes of Army. On the day of 11th general election (in 70 years)105.95 million voters are expected to head to the polling stations.
Voting will open at more than 85,000 polling stations at 8am (03:00 GMT) and close at 6pm. The military has deployed more than 371,000 personnel to provide security inside and outside every station.
ECP has requisitioned Pak Armed Forces under Article 220&245 of Constitution to assist them in free, fair & transparent conduct of Elections2018. Shall undertake this mandated duty enabling people of Pakistan to freely exercise their democratic right in safe & secure environment. pic.twitter.com/nC2MMKSKRG
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) July 21, 2018
There have been unending allegations of military’s interference in the elections. The army, on its part strongly denies all these allegations. The military has over the past week or so repeatedly clarified that its role was limited to providing security for the election process.
Meanwhile majesterial powers have been granted to Army which puts it in a position of king maker if it chooses to do so. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has opposed the same as they have been granted to the army by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), and not by parliament.
“The law minister’s assertion that parliament gave magisterial powers to the army is at best a self-serving half truth and at worst downright manipulation to pave way for polling day rigging and is rejected.” — PPP Parliamentarians secretary general Farhatullah Babar was quoted by Dawn.
It is widely expected that the results will end up in a new era of coalition politics with Imran Khan finishing on top. Amongts the country’s top three parties, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). PML-N has irts leadership jailed on flimsy charges of corruption, whle allegations are rife from PPP that army is batting for Imran Khan the erstwhile national cricket team captain.
The body count in the run up to the election too has been high.More than 154 people were reported dead in a suicide attack town of Mastung.