Pakistan polling: What a historic day it was

Every political party should respect voters’ choice regardless of the election results

People gather outside an election office of a candidate as polls closed in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Dubai: What a historic day it was. Pakistan has not witnessed such a smooth election process in the history despite the fact the odds were very high on all fronts, including security challenges.

The biggest ever polling exercise in the country largely ended peacefully yesterday (Wednesday) except expected sporadic violence in some areas and a suicide bomb blast in Quetta. It was the 11th General Election in Pakistan.

Pakistani women voters pose with their identity cards waiting to cast their vote in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. AP

The best part of the election day was voters turned out as people came out on droves with record number of women casting their votes across the country. This is the first big change noticed in an otherwise conservative Pakistan.

Hats off to the people of Pakistan who defied security threats despite a deadly suicide bomb blast early in the day. Credit also goes to the Pakistan army for providing all out help in conducting free, smooth and transparent elections at 86,305 polling stations with 371,000 troops on duty.

Though blame game continued by various political parties hurling accusation on one another of rigging in some areas throughout the day, the election process overall was smooth in a knife-edge competition between major political parties – mainly between Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Shahbaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N)

Imran Khan shows his marked thumb after casting his vote at a polling station for the parliamentary elections in Islamabad. AP

It goes without saying that Imran Khan has emerged as a powerful force in Pakistan challenging the status-quo parties whatever the final results may be. His mantra to fight against corruption and the corrupt to make ‘Naya (new) Pakistan’ has worked for him.

Pakistani voters have given their verdict and now every political party should respect their ‘vote’ regardless of the election results. The winner should also honour voters’ choice and the losers should avoid unnecessary confrontation to ensure continuation of the democratic process. Accept the winner with an open heart and put the country back on track.

Nevertheless, it is not going to be an easy ride whosoever emerges as the winner because the country is facing daunting challenges on various fronts with economic instability, unemployment and fight against terrorism on top of the list. Anyway, this was Pakistan’s best election ever.

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