Polling of Pakistan's general elections begins

Updated: 2008-02-18 12:01

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistani people are casting their votes in the general elections on Monday.

Supporters of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) participate in an election campaign in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan on Feb. 16, 2008. [Xinhua]

The polling started at 8 a.m. local time (0300 GMT) and will continue till 5 pm (1200 GMT).

The polling stations are open and all the security arrangements are in place. However, only a few voters were seen at some polling stations in Islamabad.

Related readings:
 Pakistan tense as poll starts
 Death toll of suicide attack in Pakistan rises to 46
 Militants blow up 3 polling stations in Pakistan
Pakistan releases Bhutto's assassination report

Mohammad Babar Afridi, the principal of Progressive Model School in Rawalpindi, which serves as a polling station, told Xinhua that people were concerned about security and they need encouragement to come to polling stations.

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 main parties contesting the election are: the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q), the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N).

The National Assembly of Pakistan consists of 342 seats: 272 general seats, 60 reserved seats for women and 10 seats for non- Muslims. The reserved seats will be allocated to parties according to how many votes they win.

The 272 seats for contest are distributed on the basis of population size. Under this system, 148 seats will be in Punjab province, 61 in Sindh, 35 in North West Frontier, 14 in Baluchistan, 12 in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and two in the capital Islamabad.

There are more than 80 million registered voters out of a population of around 160 million.

Polling stations have been set up across the country. According to a report of the state-run TV channel PTV, over 37,000 polling stations have been set up for the 297 seats of Punjab assembly, 13, 000 polling stations for 130 seats of Sindh assembly, 8,000 polling stations for 99 seats of North West Frontier Province assembly and 3,000 polling stations for 51 seats of Balochistan Assembly.

The elections were postponed from January 8 to February 18 following the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on December 27.

Top World News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours