February 25, 2024

Pakistan Elections: Violence marred several of Pakistan’s polling stations on Thursday.


Pakistan’s powerful military on Thursday congratulated the nation on the “generally peaceful and violence-free” conduct of the general elections, and expressed its hope that the outcome of the polls would serve as a “catalyst for further strengthening democracy” in the coup-prone country.

Violence marred several of Pakistan’s polling stations on Thursday, as millions voted in an election in which the country’s former prime minister Imran Khan, was behind bars, after he was ousted in a no-confidence vote.

“It is our fervent hope that our sacrifices would not be in vain and this election will serve as a catalyst for further strengthening democracy in Pakistan, and that it will pave the way for the realisation of the aspirations of the people of Pakistan,” the military’s media wing, the ISPR, said in a statement.

The powerful Pakistan Army, which has ruled coup-prone Pakistan for more than half of its 75-plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in matters of security and foreign policy.

It said that the armed forces alongside other law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are proud to have played a pivotal role in providing security during the conduct of the sacred electoral process, in aid of civil power, and in accordance with the Constitution of Pakistan.

A safe and secure environment for the public was ensured through the deployment of 137,000 army personnel and civil armed forces at approximately 6,000 selected “most sensitive” polling stations and over 7,800 QRFs, it added.

“Gratitude is owed to other law enforcement agencies that worked hand in hand with the armed forces to safeguard the democratic process,” it said.

According to the ISPR, despite 51 cowardly terrorist attacks, mostly in the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, aimed at disrupting the electoral process, the soldiers remained resolute and effectively ensured peace and security across Pakistan.

The army said 12 people, including 10 personnel of security forces and law enforcement agencies, were killed and 39 others injured in these attacks.

“Through proactive intelligence manoeuvres and swift action, many potential threats were neutralised, underscoring the unwavering commitment of our security agencies to protect the democratic rights of our citizens,” it added.

Shortly after polling concluded across Pakistan, interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar congratulated the nation for the “successful conduct” of the general elections.

In a post on X, he said the high voter turnout today was a clear indication of the public commitment to shaping the future of the country.

“The voices, expressed through the votes, will contribute to the fortification of our democracy, and for that, people of Pakistan deserve every bit of appreciation,” he wrote.

Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja said that elections were held in a “100 per cent transparent and peaceful” manner.

“The polling process continued without any interruption,” Raja said, adding that “No citizen was prevented from voting.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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