Pakistan Race Tightens on Eve of Historic Vote

24 July, 2018, 23:58 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Lahore police has also introduced a smart app for monitoring and promoting General Election 2018 file

The run up to the July 25 polls have seen allegations that the powerful military is secretly backing Khan's campaign and targeting his political opponents.

Even though Imran Khan is believed to be leading the race and is expected to be the next Prime Minister of the country, it's hard to gauge the impact he will be able to make on Pakistan's foreign policy, especially at a time when he has been accusing the Sharif family of being the face of an "international agenda" against Pakistan.

"We should give him a chance", said Muhammad Wasim, 32, pointing to what he described as the success Khan's party has had in governing northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Khan is hoping to achieve a years-long dream of becoming prime minister, with recent polls showing his PTI party climbing nationally ahead of Wednesday's vote.

Sunday's attack targeted the vehicle of Ikramullah Gandapur, a candidate of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), for the provisional legislative assembly in the city of Dera Ismail Khan, two police officials told Reuters. They emphasized over casting votes no matter who to vote to. Some 3,459 candidates, representing more than 100 political parties, are competing for 272 seats in the national assembly.

Another 70, reserved for women and minorities, are distributed between parties that win at least 5% of the vote.

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Khan has banked on gains in the PML-N stronghold of Punjab, Pakistan's most-populous province that has 141 elected seats, for his path to victory, successfully courting many so-called "electables" - entrenched local power brokers who often hold sway over about a quarter of Punjab's seats. He said the elder Sharif, along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz, were arrested and were not even allowed to meet Sharif's mother.

Sharif released an audio recording from jail on Monday, urging supporters to send his party back to government for a second term.

The PTI has accused India of supporting Nawaz Sharif and called it the main conspirator of the "international agenda against Pakistan".

Mushahid Hussain Sayed, a PML-N senator, said the party had delivered on promises to reduce electricity shortages and improve infrastructure. Inflation and corruption were ranked last, at 1 percent each.

The PTI chief, however, has deliberately ignored the Indian media during his campaign rallies, not to mention how he slammed the worldwide media for raising reservations over the credibility of the upcoming general elections.

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