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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Imran khan casts his vote as violence erupts across country

Four policemen lost their lives in a bomb blast and firing targeting a police patrol in the Kulachi area of Dera Ismail Khan district, while another person was killed in a separate attack in Tank.

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan, alongside other prominent incarcerated political figures, exercised their voting rights via postal ballots from Adiala Jail, according to sources on Wednesday. Among those who managed to vote by mail were former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, former Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid, and former Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry. Unfortunately, Mr. Khan’s wife, Bushra Bibi, could not participate in the voting process as she was arrested after the postal voting concluded.

The voting turnout from Adiala Jail was relatively low, with fewer than 100 prisoners out of the 7,000 inmates casting their votes, constituting only about one percent of the total population. Sources indicated that the jail administration permitted only inmates with valid computerized national identity cards (CNICs) to vote, and the turnout was further affected by the lack of original CNICs among the majority of prisoners.

“Taliban take over” 

Despite the voting process, the election day was marred by violence, with at least five fatalities reported due to militant attacks across Pakistan. Four policemen lost their lives in a bomb blast and firing targeting a police patrol in the Kulachi area of Dera Ismail Khan district, while another person was killed in a separate attack in Tank. Grenade attacks were also reported in Balochistan, although no casualties occurred there.

In addition to the violence, there were reports of disturbances in polling stations, particularly in North Waziristan, where candidate Mohsin Dawar alleged that local “Taliban” had taken over some polling stations, threatening staff and locals. However, there was no immediate confirmation from the election commission or security forces regarding these claims.

More to read:Mobile phone services suspended across Pakistan as voting begins

The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Sikandar Sultan Raja, had ordered heightened security measures following terror attacks in Balochistan ahead of the general elections. Despite the challenges, polling commenced at 8 am and is scheduled to continue until 5 pm, with over 128 million voters expected to elect their representatives for the national and provincial assemblies for the next five years. This election is anticipated to be one of the most unpredictable in Pakistan’s political history.