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27 February 2024

Voting begins in crucial Pakistan election amid fears of violence, rigging

By Agencies

Pakistanis voted for a new parliament on Monday in a key step toward democracy after eight years of military rule under President Pervez Musharraf, whose political future hung in the balance. But fear of militant attacks and apathy after a lackluster campaign appeared to keep turnout low.


Musharraf promised to work with the new government regardless of who won the vote, after a year of turmoil that has seen a marked increase in Taliban militancy and growing public disaffection with Pakistan’s support of the US-led war on terror.


“I will say from my side, whichever political party will win, whoever will become prime minister and chief ministers, congratulations to them on my behalf. And I will give them full co-operation as president whatever is my role,” the president told state television.


Some 81 million Pakistanis were eligible to vote for new national and provincial assemblies. Polls closed at 5pm (12.00pm GMT), although voters standing in line were permitted to cast ballots.


Officials said it could take another two days for complete results. (AP)