Pakistan general election: Religious parties fail to impress

Pakistan general election: Religious parties fail to impress
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Pjoto: AFP

KARACHI: The 2018 general elections in Pakistan concluded on Wednesday with sporadic incidents of violence that left at least 31 people were killed.

The counting of votes began soon thereafter in the evening and the 65-year-old Imran Khan, former cricketer’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is maintaining a commanding lead to form a majority government.

All major political parties and alliance of religious parties began to trickle in hours of the vote count and have alleged rigging.

Some 1,500 candidates are backed by these religious or banned groups for the July 25 general elections.

If look at the religious vote, MMA, an alliance of top five religio-political parties – Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Jamaat-e-Islami, Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith, Islami Tehreek and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakista that gave away the message of unity could not cover all the constituencies.

Apart for Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), the other religious parties and groupings failed to have any impressive electoral success.

Led by Saifullah Khalid, Milli Muslim League (MML) is controlled by Hafiz Saeed, who is on a UN terrorism list and has a $10-million US bounty on his head and the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) led by Khadim Hussain Rizvi failed to field the candidates in all 14 National and 30 Punjab Assembly seats.

Milli Muslim League and Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan make their presence felt only in the form of banners and flexes, as their polling agents and camps were rarely found in and around the polling stations.

The two women candidates Sumera Noreen and Memona Hamid fielded by the extreme-right Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) for NA seats didn’t ever appeared in the public to seek votes.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad administration has already begun providing state protocol to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, even before the final results of the 2018 general elections are announced.

According to Samaa TV, 30 policemen have been deployed outside Imran’s Bani Gala residence in Islamabad, in place of his private guards.