Pakistan’s general elections kick off amid security concerns

The people of Pakistan have started casting their votes as nationwide polling commenced at 8am this morning and will continue till 5pm as authorities endeavour to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted electoral process.

Over 128 million registered voters will have their say in today’s much-awaited general elections that will elect the 16th legislative assembly in the centre.

People will be casting their votes at 90,675 polling stations for a total of 5,121 candidates contesting for the 266 seats of the constituent assembly.

There are 128 million registered voters in the country, according to the data of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The last polls were held in July 2018 in which Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) secured majority seats and formed the government in the centre led by Imran Khan.

Out of the total 90,675 polling stations, 46,065 have been labelled as sensitive and 18,437 others as highly sensitive, according to ECP data.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja Wednesday talked to the chief secretaries and inspectors general of police (IGPs) of the four provinces and directed them to keep security on high alert to ensure the security of voters.

The authorities vowed all arrangements for peaceful elections, just hours after deadly blasts rocked Balochistan, killing nearly 30 people and injuring dozens of others.

According to the commission’s spokesman, the CEC also asked them to complete the deployment of security personnel as early as possible for voters’ security as well as the district returning officers and returning officers across the country.

Particularly, during a talk with the chief secretary and IG police Balochistan, CEC Raja expressed grief over the two acts of terrorism in the province and assured them that if they needed the support of ECP, they should inform him accordingly.

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