General elections are scheduled to be held in Pakistan on 25 July 2018.
There are a total of 342 seats up for grabs, out of which 272 are general seats while the remaining 70 are special seats reserved for women and ethnic minority candidates. Most of the opinion polls suggest an overall Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML (N)) lead with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) being the close second.
There have been allegations of pre-poll rigging being conducted by judiciary, military and intelligence agencies to sway the election results in favor of PTI and against PML (
In June 2017 the Economic Coordination Committee approved the procurement of new printing machines with a bridge loan of 864 million rupees. The government has also developed new software for the Election Commission of Pakistan and NADRA to ensure a “free, fair, impartial, transparent and peaceful general election.” The Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid elaborated that youth reaching the age of 18 will automatically be registered as voters when they apply for a CNIC from NADRA.
The 342 members of the National Assembly are elected by three methods; 272 are elected in single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post voting; 60 are reserved for females and 10 for ethnic and religious minority groups; both sets of reserved seats use proportional representation with a 5% electoral threshold. This proportional number, however, is based on the amount of seats won rather than votes won.
On 10 July, there was a suicide bombing attack on political rally of Awami National Party (ANP) in YakaToot neighborhood of Peshawar in which fourteen people were killed and sixty five injured. Among the killed was ANP’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly candidate, Haroon Bilour. Bilour was son of Bashir Ahmad Bilour who was also killed in a suicide bombing attack in December 2012. Elections for Constituency PK-78 were postponed to an disclosed date by the Election Commission.
On 12 July, a spokesperson for former Member of National Assembly Alhaj Shah Jee Gul Afridi was killed and another citizen was injured after unidentified men opened fire at the spokesperson’s car in Peshawar.
On 13 July, 4 citizens were killed and 10 were injured after a planted bomb exploded near the car of JUI-F candidate Akram Khan Durrani in Bannu. In a separate incident the same day, a suicide bombing killed 131 people and injured over 300. Among those killed was BAP’s candidate for the Balochistan Assembly, Nawabzada Siraj Raisani.
Sources and Further Reading
Govt to complete its term; elections to be held in July 2018: PM
General elections 2018: ECC approves Rs864m for procuring new printing machines