Country makes steady progress towards strong democratic dispensation

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ISLAMABAD, July 25 (APP):The nation on Wednesday demonstrated great spirit by exercising the right to vote in general election 2018 for a smooth power transition to another elected set-up, heralding a new dawn of strong and vibrant democratic system in the country.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) ensured elaborate arrangements in collaboration with security departments and other state institutions to conduct the election in a free, fair, transparent and peaceful manner across the country.
Enthusiastic citizens were seen lined-up outside their respective polling stations before start of the polling process to elect their representatives for national and provincial assemblies.
The queues surged gradually throughout the day as passionate voters – males, females, senior citizens and special persons – actively took part in the marathon balloting process in line with their national duty.
The 10-hour polling, commenced at 8:00 am and continued without any break till 6 pm, amid tight security to elect 270 members of the National Assembly and 570 members of all the four provincial assemblies for the next five-year term (2018-23).
Over 53,000 international, national and local observers and media persons witnessed the entire election process.
Chief Observer of European Union Election Observation Mission, Michael Gahler visited various polling stations in the federal capital and said his team closely monitored the electoral process. “We will give an overall preliminary statement on Friday because we are not only monitoring the Election Day, but the entire process,” he told media during his visit to a polling station here in NA-130 constituency.
Gahler said the EU Election Observation Mission’s team checked ballot papers before start of the polling at 8 a.m. and found the ballot boxes properly sealed. He said the enthusiasm of voters was remarkable.
Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan Justice (Retd) Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan visited three polling stations in NA-62 constituency of Rawalpindi to observe the polling process, and expressed satisfaction over arrangements made to ensure free, fair and transparent elections.
The chief visited Divisional Public School, Dhoke Kala Khan, Shamsabad, Pir Mehar Ali Shah-Arid Agricultural University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR), Murree Road and Government Degree College for Women, Sixth Road, Satellite Town.
President Mamnoon Hussain cast his vote in NA-247 Karachi, while Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar cast his vote in NA-130 constituency of Lahore.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa voted in Rawalpindi constituency PP-11, while Gen. (r) Raheel Sharif cast his vote in NA-129.
Caretaker Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Barrister Ali Zafar cast his vote at a polling station in Johar Town Lahore.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif cast his vote in Model Town, Lahore. Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan cast his vote at Dhok Jilani, Islamabad, while Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Bakhtawar and Asifa Bhutto voted in Nawabshah. PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari cast his vote in Larkana’s NA-200 constituency.
Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi cast his vote in NA-57 Murree.
Former National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq cast his vote in Garhi Shahu, Lahore. PPP leader Syed Khursheed Shah cast his vote in Sukkur’s NA-207 constituency, Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) founder Mustafa Kamal cast his vote in Karachi’s NA-243 while Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Dr Farooq Sattar also cast his vote in NA-245 constituency.
Around 105.95 million eligible voters including 59.22 million males and 46.73 million females were enrolled with the ECP to exercise their vote to mark another democratic transition in the country.
About 1,1673 candidates were vying for 270 national and 570 provincial assemblies’ seats.
Election Commission of Pakistan had established 85,058 polling stations, out of which around 17,000 were declared as sensitive across the country. In order to hold the election in a peaceful manner and provide a level playing field to all the stakeholders, around 770,000 security personnel including army-men and police personnel performed duty in and outside the polling stations.
The ECP had appointed 2720 district returning officers and returning officers and assistant returning officers to conduct the proceeding of the elections.