All eyes are on the television with political parties, independent candidates as well as voters fastening their seatbelts as the much-awaited unofficial and unconfirmed results for the general elections 2024 have started pouring in.
Despite the suspension of mobile phone and internet services, a large number of people across Pakistan exercised their right to vote to elect their representatives for national and provincial assemblies — on 855 constituencies — in the world’s fifth-biggest democracy.
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 are performing their duties at 90,675 polling stations — of which 16,766 have been declared as extremely sensitive. To ensure voter turnout, February 8 was declared as a public holiday.
The polling, which kick-started at 8am, continued till 5pm throughout the country with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) deciding against extending the time for polling despite reports of irregularities from multiple constituencies and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) requesting an extension in the polling time.