Pakistan voted on Wednesday for the country’s second consecutive democratic transfer of power.
Polling began at 8AM across the country’s 85,307 polling stations and continued until 6PM despite calls by several major parties, including PML-N, PPP and PTI, to extend the polling time by an hour.
The parties had complained of “a slow voting process” and thus sought more time to facilitate voters — a request that was dismissed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
The election campaign was marred by violence with three candidates killed in targetted attacks and culminated with a suicide blast outside a polling station in Quetta which claimed at least 29 lives.
However, undeterred, several of Pakistan’s nearly 106 million registered voters stepped out to cast their ballot, including women in areas where they previously stood disenfranchised due to various issues.
Doors of polling stations closed as the clock struck 6PM. However, voters still present inside polling stations are being allowed to cast their votes.
As many as 12,570 candidates contested for a total of 849 seats of national and provincial assemblies in the country’s 11th General Election.
Counting has now begun at the polling stations where the process has been completed.