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Countdown to Pak Polls - III: Battle between Nawaz and Imran is a fight to finish

The election officers took their seats at polling booths on Friday evening to conduct historic Pakistan 2013 elections. Every government department is on high alert and are leaving no stone unturned for a fair and smooth voting.

Election Commission of Pakistan has taken several steps to sail through tough times. One of their significant steps was removal of bogus voters as reports suggest that as Pakistan people goes for polls there are now 85 million verified voters. Since the last election, the commission has removed 37 million bogus names and added 36 million new ones.

Politically, Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N is considered to be bagging most seats this time due to bad governance by the ruling Pakistan People’s Party PPP. The power outages which are happening for even 16-18 hours in some areas have really dented PPP’s chances of coming back to majority. People are disgusted with the government’s inability to control Pakistan Taliban too.

According to an exit poll by Pk politics, PML-N is expected to bag 109 seats in the national assembly with PPP coming down to 43. PTI is expected to get 37 and MQM 19 seats.

‘Imran Khan’s PTI may get some sympathy votes in view of his fall on Wednesday during a Lahore rally,’ an analyst said, adding that, ‘Most of PPP’s votes would be dissected by PTI.’

MQM is expected to perform as always and would bag maximum votes from Urban Sindh which is their stronghold.

The role of Pakistan military who is playing wait-and-watch can’t be ruled out completely. Most analyst believe that whatever the make-up of the government that emerges from the general election, its powers will be heavily circumscribed. The military will decide on foreign policy and security, including the volatile ties with Washington as NATO troops withdraw from neighbouring Afghanistan, and it will still run the thorny relationship with old enemy and nuclear rival India.

‘The military remains relevant to politics, and it has partnerships that allow it to remain outside but control the inside,’ noted Ayesha Siddiqa, an expert on Pakistan’s secretive army.

And with prospect of election frontrunner being Nawaz Sharif - who has crossed swords with the army in the past - returning as prime minister for a third time has raised concern that civilian-military distrust could erupt in open hostility.
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