The voting process in Pakistan's parliamentary elections concluded Wednesday evening, and counting of ballots has started, Secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Baber Yaqoob, said.
Polling started at 8:00 am Wednesday, and continued uninterrupted up to 6:00 pm local time. Almost all major parties requested the ECP to extend the polling time for one hour, but was rejected by the election body. However, those inside the premises of the polling stations, before the closing time, are allowed to cast their votes, the ECP official said.
Out of the 272 seats of the 342-member National Assembly, the lower house of the country's parliament, elections took place on 270 seats, as polls were postponed on two seats, due to multiple reasons, including the death of a candidate.
A huge turnout of voters was observed across the country, but heavy rains in some areas also affected the turnout, local media reported.
Counting started at the polling stations where polling process has been completed. However, the ECP forbidden all organisations from announcing the result of any polling station, before 7:00 pm local time.
According to the ECP, a total of 3,428 candidates contested for the 270 general seats of the lower house, and 8,245 for 570 general seats of the four provincial assemblies, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh.
Pakistan's lower house has a total of 342 members, of which 272 are directly elected by the people, whereas 60 seats are reserved for women and 10 for religious minorities. The reserved will be allocated to the political parties, according to their proportional representation in the house.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK