All eyes are on the outcome of the general elections 2024, with political parties, independent candidates as well as voters glued to their television screens as the much-awaited unofficial and unconfirmed results for the crucial nationwide polls have entered the phase of completion.
On February 8, a large number of people across the country exercised their right to vote to elect their representatives for national and provincial assemblies — on 855 constituencies — despite the suspension of mobile phone and internet services.
The 2024 elections surpassed the previous ones in 2018 in various aspects, including a record budget allocation of Rs48 billion, a substantial increase in the number of voters exceeding 50% of the total population, an unprecedented ratio of independent candidates, a total of nearly 18,000 candidates, and a substantial amount of paper required for printing 260 million ballots.
More than 1.4 million polling staff performed their duties at 90,675 polling stations — of which 16,766 were declared as extremely sensitive. To ensure voter turnout, February 8 was declared as a public holiday.
The polling kick-started at 8am, with delays in some areas and continued till 5pm throughout the country to mark the largest general elections in the history of Pakistan, which is the world’s fifth largest democracy.
With cellular service suspended since dawn due to security risks, the country witnessed a largely peaceful polling process, however, a terror attack in Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, martyred four policemen.
The election results were expected to be completed a few hours after midnight, but the unofficial results couldn’t be released even 24 hours after the end of polling.
As the results trickled in, independent candidates dominated the polls, with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) claiming to be in a position to form a majority government in the Centre, but an inordinate delay in the complete compilation of the outcomes sparked controversy.
Amid all the chaos about the poll results, all eyes are on the PTI-affiliated as they await the party’s decision about their future course of action.
Currently, the PTI-backed candidates are leading with nearly 100 seats followed by PML-N (71), PPP (53) and MQM-P (17).