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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Security official killed in Pakistan as general elections kick off

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A security official was killed in in the Tank district of Pakistan’s northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa amid the general elections on Thursday, Aaj News broadcaster reported, citing sources.

The attack occurred in the Kot Azam area of Tank district, the report said. Unidentified men opened fire at a security personnel’s vehicle. The police said that the polling continued and another vehicle was patrolling the area of the attack. Meanwhile, Tank Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Shoaib told the broadcaster that “polling is under way in Kot Azam” and “news related to polling stopped in the area is wrong,” adding that the attack did not target any polling station.

Elections for Pakistan’s National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, and the country’s provincial legislatures began on Thursday at 8 a.m. local time (03:00 GMT). Polling stations will remain open until 5 p.m. local time (12:00 GMT), after which the counting of votes will start. Preliminary election results are expected to be published on Thursday evening, while the official results will be summarized on Friday morning.

Voters will choose 266 candidates for the National Assembly, who will later elect the next prime minister by majority vote. At the same time, voters will also choose representatives to their provincial assemblies, which will then elect provincial heads of state through a similar process.

A total of 17,816 candidates are in the race, of whom 12,695 will contest for provincial assembly seats and 5,121 for National Assembly seats. Elections were postponed in one national and three provincial constituencies due to the deaths of contesting candidates.

Although 44 political parties are contesting for seats in the lower house, analysts predict that the main battle will be between representatives of two political forces: the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and the Pakistan People’s Party.

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