With all the necessary arrangements in place, the countdown of
Pakistan's general elections has started despite some
Briefing a news conference in Islamabad, caretaker information
minister Nisar Memon said that Pakistan would hold free, fair,
transparent and peaceful general elections on Monday to dismiss the
suspicions of some media that there might be another
Memon said that the elections had attracted hundreds of foreign
journalists and observers, who would monitor the whole process of
Candidates from dozens of political parties will contest for a
total of 272 seats in the National Assembly (NA) and 577 seats in
four provincial assemblies in the elections.
The eastern Punjab province boasts of 148 NA seats. The party
which wins the province is likely to win in the federal level.
Statistics show that PML-Q gained 46 percent of the total seats in
Punjab in the 2002 general elections. But things might be different
this time. As Nawaz Sharif, PML-N leader and former PM, has
returned from exile, it's possible for the party to snatch some
There are 61 NA seats in the southern Sindh province. Most of
the people in rural areas of Sindh have been loyal supporters of
Pakistan People's Party (PPP), while urban citizens will most
probably cast their votes in favor of a party called Muttahida
Qaumi Movement (MQM).
It is still too early to predict the results of general
elections in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). Muttahida
Majlis-e-amal (MMA), an alliance of some Islamic groups, captured
29 among the 35 seats in the province in 2002. However, because of
MMA's poor performance in its 5-year rule, votes in the NWFP will
possibly go to the PPP and the Awami National Party.
The local government of the southwestern Balochistan province
will have to encourage people to participate in the elections
because it had low turnout in 2002. With merely 14 seats in the NA,
the Baloch voters believe that they have little say in the federal
decision regarding the province and lose interest in voting.
Though uncertain about the results, the general public in the
South Asian country hope to see a stable and peaceful Pakistan with
its security situation and international image improved after the
(Xinhua News Agency February 18, 2008)