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Pakistan set to hold nationwide polls on July 25

Islamabad, As Pakistan is preparing to hold general elections on July 25, it has become very difficult to predict which party will win the election to form next government in the country.

Analysts say that it is not easy to predict an election in Pakistan but the upcoming general elections have become even more difficult to predict as a lot has changed within a year.

Pakistani nation on July 25 will vote to elect the members of the National Assembly and the four Provincial Assemblies of the country. The Prime Minister of Pakistan is elected from the National Assembly who forms the federal government.

The National Assembly of Pakistan has 342 members out of which 272 are directly elected members and 70 reserved seats for women and religious minorities.

A political party must secure 172 seats to obtain and preserve a majority.

Each National Assembly is formed for a five-year term, commencing from the date of the first sitting, after which it is automatically dissolved.

Currently there are three main political parties in Pakistan's political arena namely Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) who are flexing their muscles for the next elections. Some small parties and independent candidates would also play an important role in forming the next government of Pakistan.

According to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) there are about 122 political parties in the race for upcoming elections.

Pakistan Muslim League-N which ruled the country from 2013-2018, is going through a difficult phase after their chief and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter were sentenced for jail imprisonment in corruption cases.

Many of the strong PML-N members have already left the party and joined Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) led by cricketer turn Politian Imran Khan.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) who ruled Pakistan from 2008-2013 is also facing problems. Though they are very strong in southern Sindh province but they look very week in Punjab province and seats of Punjab are very significant in forming the national government.

On the other hand Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) which is slightly new party in Pakistan is very confidant to win the elections but still they are not very strong in Punjab and Sindh.

Dr Rasul Bakhsh Rais Senior analyst and professor of Political Science at Lahore University of Management Science (LUMS) talking to IRNA said though it is not possible to predict the elections but PTI will definitely will win more seats.

PTI has more followers across the country as compared to other political parties thus in a better position to form the next government, he said.

He went on to say that terrorists and enemies of Pakistan have tried to sabotage the election through some terrorist activities on election rallies but they have failed to sabotage the election process in the country.

Rasul Bakhsh Rais said it is good that the democracy is continuing in Pakistan and elections are being held on time.

Despite all the unpredictability and uncertainty that still exists, one thing has become clear now that no party will be able to win enough seats to form its own government and they would need help of smaller parties in this regards.

At least 137 seats will be required to win a simple majority in the National Assembly. A hung parliament or a split mandate seems to be the mostly likely outcome.

Senior analyst Rahimullah Yusufzai told IRNA that there would be close contest between Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in Punjab province which holds major share of seats of National Assembly.

But we cannot underestimate PML-N, he noted.

He went on to say that in Sindh Province PPP seems stronger, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa PTI has an edge over other parties and in Balochistan, Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) could form a coalition government along with some religious parties.

Rahimullah Yusufzai added that elections will be held on time but there would be a coalition government which means a week government.

The analyst expressing his views said that terrorists have failed to sabotage the election process though they have tried a lot.

He said that turn out in the elections would be low due to hot and humid weather in Pakistan. This is the first time we are having elections in the month of July, he said.

As the general elections are about to arrive the youth of Pakistan is being termed as a major influencer on election results. This election will be a watershed moment to decide the future of this country as 46 million youth is a registered voter out of total 105.95 million voters. The onus lies on political parties as how they utilize and mobilize this huge vote bank.

Earlier, the ECP announced that a total of 105.95 million voters will use their right of vote to elect the new government. Among them are 59.2 million male and 46.7 million female voters, showing a gender gap of over 12.5 million.

Meanwhile Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has directed army troops to be deployed at polling stations during coming general elections to follow the code of conduct of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in letter and spirit.

The COAS said the army would assist the ECP strictly within the bounds of the given mandate. He said working in synchronisation with other elements of security apparatus; the army troops would put in place all efforts to ensure secure and safe environment enabling people to freely exercise their democratic right.

Earlier rejecting as baseless rumors about the army's perceived efforts to influence the outcome of the elections, Major General Ghafoor spokesperson for army said the army was only working on the ECP's directives to maintain law and order situation.

ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad has told media that 800,000 security personnel and 700,000 polling staff would perform election duties.

On the other hand the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has barred major political party leaders from using indecent language during their election campaigns.

Prime Minister of Pakistan retired Justice Nasirul Mulk in a meeting has called for paying special attention to safety and security of political leadership and general public attending corner meetings during election campaign.

He stressed the administration should maintain a close liaison with political leadership to ensure strict compliance of election code of conduct and the security protocols.

In another development the ECP has issued directives to the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) for timely issuance of computerized national identity cards (CNICs) to the applicants so that the turnout of voters could be maximized during the general elections scheduled for July 25.

Production of original CNIC is essentially required for a voter to be enabled to exercise his right to vote.

Recently terrorists also targeted election rallies and were able to kill more than 150 people including election candidates in different parts of Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces with an aim to sabotage election. However despite these acts the country is going towards the general elections without any fear.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA

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