Since its establishment in 1947, Pakistan has had an asymmetric federal government and is a federalparliamentarydemocratic republic. At the national level, the people of Pakistan elect a bicamerallegislature, the Parliament of Pakistan. The parliament consists of a lower house called the National Assembly, which is elected directly, and an upper house called the Senate, whose members are chosen by elected provincial legislators. The head of government, the Prime Minister, is elected by the majority members of the National Assembly and the head of state (and figurehead), the President, is elected by the Electoral College, which consists of both houses of Parliament together with the four provincial assemblies. In addition to the national parliament and the provincial assemblies, Pakistan also has more than five thousand elected local governments.
The Election Commission of Pakistan, a constitutionally established institution chaired by an appointed and designated Chief Election Commissioner, supervises the general elections. The Pakistan Constitution defines (to a basic extent) how general elections are held in Part VIII, Chapter 2 and various amendments. A multi-party system is in effect, with the National Assembly consisting of 342 seats and the Senate consisting of 104 seats elected from the four provinces. The Constitution dictates that the general elections be held every five years when the National Assembly has completed its term or has been dissolved and that the Senatorial elections be held to elect members for terms of six years. By law, general elections must be held within two months of the National Assembly completing its term.
In law and Constitution
The Constitution of Pakistan more broadly and briefly defines how general elections (to a basic extent) are conducted, giving the time of elections, and the framework under which the elections are to be conducted set up the Constitution of Pakistan in Article 222-226 in Chapter 2:
- No Person shall, at the same time, be a member of, both houses (National Assembly and Senate) or a House and a Provincial Assemblies.
- When the National Assembly or a Provincial Assembly is dissolved, a general election to the Assembly shall be held within a period of ninety days after the dissolution, and the results of the election shall be declared not later than fourteen days after the conclusion of the polls.
|“||A general election to the National Assembly or a Provincial Assembly shall be held within a period of sixty days immediately following the day on which the day on which the term of the Assembly is due to expire, unless the Assembly has been sooner dissolved, and the results of the election shall be declared not later than fourteen days before that day.||”|
|— Article 222–226: Part VIII: Elections, Chapter:2 Electoral Laws and Conduct of Elections, source: The Constitution of Pakistan|
Election Commission of Pakistan
Main article: Election Commission of Pakistan
The duty of conducting elections are established in the Constitution of Pakistan. Established in 1956, the Election Commission of Pakistan holds the purpose of elections to Houses of Parliament, four provincial assemblies and for election of such other public offices as may be specified by law or until such law is made by the Parliament. The Election Commission is constituted with comprising the Chief Election Commissioner as its chairman (who is a judge or/ retired judge of the Supreme Court) and four appointed members from each four provinces, each of whom is a judge of four High Courts of the four provinces; all appointed by the President by constitution.
After approving the consultations from the chief justices of high courts of four provinces and the chief election commissioner, the President constitutionally approved the appointments of the designated members of the election commission. The chief election commissioner is appointed by the President, in his/her discretion, for a term of 3 years. The Constitution grants the chief election commission the security of tenure and financial autonomy.
Levels of Elections
Pakistan has a parliamentary system in which, the executive and legislature are elected directly by public voting in a Constituencies on first-past-the-post system through a secret ballot. Article 222–229 of the Constitution of Pakistan forbids the candidate of occupying the membership of National Assembly and the Provincial assemblies simultaneously. In direct elections, a candidate who obtains the highest number of votes in a constituency, is declared elected as a Member of National or a Provincial Assembly.
The Seats in the National Assembly are allocated to each of Four Provinces, the FATAs and the Federal Capital on the basis of population in accordance with the last preceding Census officially published. Members to the Seats reserved for Women and Non-Muslims, are elected in accordance with law through proportional representation system of political party's lists of candidates on the basis of total number of General Seats secured by each political party in the National Assembly or a Provincial Assembly. The National Assembly has 342 seats, usually elected for five year terms; however, if the National Assembly dissolved, a general elections must be called in ninety-days period, in accordance to the constitution.
National Assembly Composition
The Senate consists of 104 members, of whom 14 members are elected by each Provincial Assembly, eight members are elected from FATAs by the Members of National Assembly from these areas, two members (one woman and one technocrat) is elected from the Federal Capital by the Members of National Assembly; four women and four Technocrats are elected by the members of each Provincial Assembly. One seat in the senate is reserved for minorities in each province.
It is the responsibility of the Chief Election Commissioner to hold and make arrangements for the Senate elections in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote through electoral colleges. The term of the members of the Senate is 6 years. However, the term of the first group of the Senators, who shall retire after completion of first 3 years of the Senate, is determined by drawing of lots by the Chief Election Commission purposes.
The President is elected in presidential elections. In an indirect election, with the winner being determined by votes casts by the electors of the Electoral College. The electoral college is composed of elected senators, members of the national and provincial assemblies. The President is a ceremonial post, head of state, and merely a figurehead with the executive powers granted to Prime Minister, by the Constitution. The Constitution grants right to both men and women to run for the presidency as it states that a presidential candidate, a Muslim, not less than 45 years of age, and a Member of the National Assembly, can contest the Presidential election. The President is elected for a term of 5 years.
It is the duty of Chief Election Commissioner to conduct elections to the office of the President in a special session of Parliament and all the Provincial Assemblies in accordance with the provisions of Second Schedule to the Constitution.
Local government elections
In order to decentralize administrative and financial authority to be accountable to Local Governments, for good governance, effective delivery of services and transparent decision making through institutionalized participation of the people at grassroots level, elections to the local government institutions are held after every four years on non party basis by the Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan.
Members of Union Council including Union Administrator and Vice Union Administrator are elected through direct elections based on adult franchise and on the basis of joint electorate. However, for the election to the reserved seats for Women in Zila council proportionately divided among Tehsils or Towns shall be all members of the Union Councils in a Tehsil or Town. It is the responsibility of the Chief Election Commissioner to organize and conduct these elections.
First local government election was held in 1959 under the dictatorship of ayub khan. second local government election was held in 1979 under the dictatorship of general zia ul haq. third local government election was under right after the cope of Pervaiz Musharaf in 2000, and finally first time in history of Pakistan local body election held in Pakistan on December 7, 2013. Balochistan was the province where LBTemplate:Description needed Polls held. Punjab, Sindh and KP are all set to conduct the polls. These first time BD Election held due to the immense pressure of new merging political power of PTI on the central government of PMLN.
Methods of Voting Qualification
Qualification for membership of the Parliament
A person who is a citizen of Pakistan, is enrolled as a voter in any electoral roll under the Electoral Rolls Act 1974 and in case of National/Provincial Assemblies is not less than 25 years of age and in case of Senate not less than 30 years of age, is of good character and is not commonly known as one who violates Islamic injunctions, has adequate knowledge of Islamic teachings and practices, obligatory duties prescribed by Islam as well as abstains from major sin, is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate, honest and ameen, has not been convicted for a crime involving moral turpitude or for giving false evidence, and has not, after establishment of Pakistan, worked against the integrity of the country or opposed the ideology of Pakistan and is graduate, can contest the elections and become a member of the Parliament or a Provincial Assembly.
A person, who is a citizen of Pakistan, is not less than 18 years of age on the first day of January of the year in which the rolls are prepared or revised, is not declared by a competent court to be of un-sound mind and is or is deemed to be a resident of an electoral area, can get himself enrolled as a voter in that electoral area. The citizens registered on the electoral rolls are only eligible to cast their votes.
Voting registration system
- For the conduct of elections to the National and Provincial Assemblies, the Election Commission appoints a District Returning Officer for each District and a Returning Officer for each constituency, who are drawn from amongst the officers of the Judiciary, the Federal/Provincial Government and Local Authorities. Returning Officers are mostly Additional District & Sessions Judges.
- The list of polling stations is prepared by the Returning Officers and approved by the District Returning Officer. No polling station can be located in the premises of a candidate.
- The list of Presiding Officers, Assistant Presiding Officers and polling staff is prepared by the Returning Officer and sent to the District Returning Officer for approval at least 15 days before the polls. The Presiding Officer is responsible for conducting polls at the Polling Station and maintaining law and order. He is assisted by the Assistant Presiding Officers and Polling Officer.
- After the publication of Election Schedule by the Election Commission, nomination papers are invited from interested contesting candidates.
- Scrutiny of nomination papers is carried out by the Returning Officers and nomination papers are accepted/rejected.
- Appeals against rejection/acceptance of nomination papers are filed with the appellate tribunal, who decide such appeals summarily within such time as may be notified by the Commission and any order passed thereon shall be final.
- Final list of contesting candidates is prepared and published in the prescribed manner by the Returning Officer after incorporation of the decisions on appeals and after withdrawal of candidature by the candidates if any.
- Election Symbols are also allocated to the candidates by the Returning Officer according to their party affiliation or as an individual candidate, from the list of Election Symbols approved by the Election Commission. The Returning Officer also publishes the names of the contesting candidates arranged in the Urdu alphabetical order specifying against each the symbol allocated to him.
- The Election Commission of Pakistan provides each Returning Officer with copies of voter's list for his constituency who distributes it amongst the Presiding Officers in accordance with the polling scheme and assignment of voters to each polling station/booth.
- Voters cast their votes at specified polling stations according to their names in an electoral rolls. Since the election for both National and Provincial Assemblies constituencies are held on the same day, the voter is issued two separate ballot papers for each National Assembly and Provincial Assembly constituency.
- When an elector presents himself at the polling station to vote, the Presiding Officer shall issue a ballot paper to the elector after satisfying himself about the identity of the elector through his identity card.
- Polling is held for nine hours on the polling day without any break.
- Immediately after the close of the poll votes are counted at the polling stations by the Presiding Officers in presence of the candidates, their Election Agents, and Polling Agents.
- After counting the ballot papers the Presiding Officer prepares a statement of the count indicating the number of votes secured by a candidate, and send it to the Returning Officer along with the election material, un-used ballot papers, spoilt ballot papers, tendered ballot papers, challenged ballot papers, marked copies of the electoral rolls, the counter-foils of used ballot papers, the tendered votes lists, and the challenged votes lists.
- The Presiding Officers also announce the result of count at the polling stations and paste a copy of the result outside the polling stations.
- After the receipt of statement of counts from the Presiding Officers of the polling stations, the Returning Officer compiles the preliminary unofficial result and intimates the results to the Election Commission through fax for announcement on print/electronic media.
- After the announcement of unofficial result, the Returning Officer serves a notice to all the contesting candidates and their election agents regarding the day, time and place fixed for consolidation of the result. In the presence of the contesting candidates and election agents, the Returning Officer consolidates the results of the count furnished by the Presiding Officers in the prescribed manner including postal ballot received by him before the polling day.
- Immediately after preparing the consolidated statement the Returning Officer submits a copy to the Election Commission in the prescribed form which publishes the names of the returned candidates in the official Gazette.
History of elections in Pakistan
Past elections:General elections from 1954 to 1970
1st elections : 1954 (indirect elections) = PML
2nd elections : 1962 (indirect elections) = PML
3rd elections : 1970 = AL
4th elections : 1977 = PPP
5th elections : 1985 = PML (non-party basis elections)
6th elections : 1988 = PPP
7th elections : 1990 = IJI
8th elections : 1993 = PPP
9th elections : 1997 = PMLN
10th elections : 2002 = PMLQ
11th elections : 2008 = PPP
12th elections : 2013 = PMLN
Between 1947 and 1958, there were no direct elections held in Pakistan at the national level. Provincial elections were held occasionally. The West Pakistan provincial elections were described as "a farce, a mockery and a fraud upon the electorate"
The first direct elections held in the country after independence were for the provincial Assembly of the Punjab between 10–20 March 1951. The elections were held for 197 seats. As many as 939 candidates contested the election for 189 seats, while the remaining seats were filled unopposed. Seven political parties were in the race. The election was held on an adult franchise basis with approximately one-million voters. The turnout remained low. In Lahore, the turnout was 30 per cent of the listed voters and in rural areas of Punjab it was much lower.
On 8 December 1951 the North West Frontier Province held elections for Provincial legislature seats. In a pattern that would be repeated throughout Pakistan's electoral history, many of those who lost accused the winners of cheating and rigging the elections. Similarly, in May, 1953 elections to the Provincial legislature of Sindh were held and they were also marred by accusations of rigging.
In April 1954, the general elections were held for the East Pakistan Legislative Assembly, in which the Pakistan Muslim League lost to the pan-Bengali nationalistUnited Front Alliance.Incumbent Prime minister of East Pakistan Mr. Nurul Amin lost his parliament seat to a veteran student leader and language movement stalwart Khaleque Nawaz Khan in Mr. Amin's home constituency Nandail of Mymensingh district. Nurul Amin's crushing defeat to young Turk of United front alliance effectively eliminated Pakistan Muslim League from Political landscape of the then East Pakistan.
Political parties performances in General elections under military government(s)
All data and calculations are provided by Election Commission of Pakistan as Public domain. The General elections in 1985 were non-partisan general elections, but many technocrats belong to the one party to another.
General elections from 1977 to 2013
After the loss of East–Pakistan, democracy returned to the country. In 1977, the general elections were held but due to election violence instigated by the right-wing PNA, the martial law took advance against the left oriented PPP.
In 1988, the general elections were held again which marked the PPP coming in power but dismissed in two years following the amid lawlessness situation in the country. In 1990, the general elections saw the right-wing alliance forming the government but dismissed in 1993 after the alliance collapse. The general elections in 1993 saw the PPP forming government after successfully seeking plurality in the Parliament. Prime MinisterBenazir Bhutto made critical decisions during her era, ranging from working to strengthening the education, defense, foreign policy and pressed her policies hard to implement her domestic programs initiatives. Despite her tough rhetoric, Prime Minister Bhutto's own position deteriorated in her native province, Sindh, and lost her support following the death of her younger brother. Tales of high-scale corruption cases also maligned her image in the country and was dismissed from her post by her own hand-picked president in 1996. The 1997 general elections saw the centre-right, PML(N), gaining the exclusive mandate in the country and supermajority in the parliament. Despite Sharif's popularity in 1998 and popular peace initiatives in 1999, the conspiracy was hatched against Sharif by General Musharraf, accusing Sharif of hijacking the plane and pressed terrorism charges against Sharif in the military courts; thus ending Sharif's government.
Ordered by the Supreme Court, General Musharraf held general election in 2002, bearing Sharif and Benazir Bhutto from keeping the public office. With Zafarullah Jamali becoming the Prime minister in 2002, he left the office for Shaukat Aziz in 2004. After the deadly 9/11 attacks in the United States and Musharraf's unconditional policy to support the American war in the Afghanistan, further damaged Musharraf's credibility in the country. In an unsuccessful attempt to dismiss the Judicial system, Musharraf dramatically fall from power. The 2008 general elections allowed the PPP, assisted with the left-wing alliance, further consolidated in opposition to Musharraf, though it was plagued with loadshedding, law and order situation, foreign policy issues, and poor economic performances. In recent elections held in 2013, the PML(N) won the majority seats in the elections and is expected to be forming government in last weeks of May 2013.
Political parties performances in General elections since 1977
All data and calculations are provided by Election Commission of Pakistan as Public domain. All elections were contested under a separate electorate system, the 1990 elections had allegations of vote-rigging confirmed by foreign observers. The 'MQM' contested the 1988 elections under the name Muhajir Qaumi Mahaz, it boycotted the 1993 National elections.
2008 General elections
Main article: Pakistani general election, 2008
This election led to strong showings for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N), who signed the Bhurban Accord in response to the election results.The election was held in Pakistan on 18 February 2008, after being postponed from 8 January 2008. The original date was intended to elect members of the National Assembly of Pakistan, the lower house of the Majlis-e-Shoora (the nation's parliament). Pakistan's two main opposition parties, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML (N)) won the majority of seats in the election. The PPP and PML(N) formed the new coalition government with Yosaf Raza Gillani as Prime Minister of Pakistan.Following the election, Pervez Musharraf acknowledged that the process had been free and fair. He conceded the defeat of the PML (Q) and pledged to work with the new Parliament. The voter turnout for the election was 35,170,435 people (44%). By-elections for 28 seats (23 provincial and 5 national) have been delayed numerous times, with most of them now held on 26 June 2008.
|Parties||Votes||%||Elected seats||Reserved seats (women)||Reserved seats (minorities)||Total||Percentile|
|Pakistan Peoples Party||10,606,486||30.6%||97||23||4||124|
|Pakistan Muslim League (N)||6,781,445||19.6%||71||17||3||91|
|Pakistan Muslim League (Q)||7,989,817||23.0%||42||10||2||54|
|Muttahida Qaumi Movement||2,507,813||7.4%||19||5||1||25|
|Awami National Party||700,479||2.0%||10||3||0||13|
|Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal Pakistan||772,798||2.2%||6||1||0||7|
|Pakistan Muslim League (F)||4||1||0||5|
|Pakistan Peoples Party (Sherpao)||140,707||0.4%||1||0||0||1|
|National Peoples Party||1||0||0||1|
|Balochistan National Party (Awami)||1||0||0||1|
|Total (turnout 44%) |
Note: Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan, Tehrik-e-Jafaria Pakistan and Jamiat Ahle Hadith did not participate.
|Source: Election Commission of Pakistan, Adam Carr's Electoral Archive|
Pakistani general election, 2013
Further information: Pakistani general election, 2013
Presidential elections since 1956
Promulgation of 1956 constitution, Iskandar Ali Mirza became first President of Pakistan; he was also noted of being the first East-PakistaniBengalipresident of Pakistan. In an indirect elections, the electors of the Awami League voted for Mirza's bid for presidency in 1956. Wanting a control democracy, President Mirza dismissed four prime ministers in less than two years and his position in the country was quickly deteriorated amid his actions. In 1958, Mirza imposed the martial law under its enforcer General Ayub Khan, but was also dismissed the same year. Assuming the presidency in 1958, Ayub Khan introduced a "System of Basic Democracy" which mean, "the voters delegate their rights to choose the president and the members of the national and provincial assemblies to 80,000 representatives called Basic Democrats."
Under this system, the first direct presidential election was held on January 2, 1965. Some 80,000 'basic democrats', as members of urban and regional councils, caucused to vote. There were two main contestants: Pakistan Muslim League led by President Ayub Khan and the Combined Opposition Parties (COP) under the leadership of Fatima Jinnah. In this highly controversial election with the means of using the state machinery to rigging the votes, the PML secured a thumping majority of 120 seats while the opposition could clinch only 15 seats. Fatima Jinnah's Combined Opposition Party (COP) only secured 10 seats whereas the NDF won 5 seats in East Pakistan and 1 in West Pakistan. The rest of the seats went to the independents.
Witnessing the events in 1965, the new drafted constitution created the Electoral College system, making the president as mere figurehead. In 1973, Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry became the first president from the PPP in an indirect polling. With the martial law remained effective from 1977 till 1988, civil servant Ghulam Ishaq Khan ran for the presidency on a PPP ticket in a deal to support Benazir Bhutto for presidency. With special powers granted to President GI Khan, he dismissed two elected government during period 1990 and 1993; he too was forced out from the office the same year. After the 1993 general election, the PPP nominated Farooq Leghari who soon secured majority votes in the parliament. Originally elected for five-year term, Leghari was forced resigned from the presidency after forcing out Benazir Bhutto from the government in 1996. In 1997 general election, Nawaz Sharif called for fresh presidential elections and nominated Rafiq Tarar for the presidency. In an indirect election, Tarar received heavy votes from the electors of Electoral College, becoming the first president from the PML(N). In 1999 martial law against Sharif, Musharraf self-pointed for the presidency in 2001. In 2004, he secured his appointment for presidency; though the opposition and religious alliance boycotted the elections. In 2007, Musharraf again restored his appointment after the opposition parties also boycotted the elections. As Musharraf forced out from the power, Asif Zardari of PPP became president after a close presidential elections in 2008. The Pakistani general election of 2013 were held on 11 May 2013. Problems with providing electricity was one of the major issues with the winning candidate, Nawaz Sharif, promising to reform electrical service and provide reliable service.
Political parties performances in Presidential elections since 1971
FI Chaudhy becomes president in 1973 with PPP's support in four provinces.GI Khan was candidate of PPP in return of supporting Benazir Bhutto in 1988. Pervez Musharraf gained political support from PML(Q) as their president in 2004 and 2007; both elections were controversial as leading parties PPP and PML(N) boycotted the elections.
Further information: List of members of the 14th National Assembly of Pakistan
All 342 seats in the National Assembly
172 seats needed for a majority
General Elections result.
General elections were held in Pakistan on 11 May 2013 to elect the members of the 14th National Assembly and to the four provincial assemblies of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Elections were held in all four provinces, Islamabad's federal capital territory and in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The remaining two territories of Pakistan, the Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, were ineligible to vote due to their disputed status. Allegations on systematic vote rigging, favouritism, and ethnicity trends on political parties marred with controversy regarding the nationwide elections; this eventually led to anti-government march that called for electoral reforms in 2014.
The fifth largest democracy and second largest Muslim democracy after Indonesia in the world, the elections are noted for the first civilian transfer of power following the successful completion of a five-year term by a democratically elected government. Election took place in 272 constituencies, whilst a further 70 seats were awarded to parties having been reserved for women and minority groups; none of the parties achieved the 172 seats needed for an overall majority. The Pakistan Muslim League (N) won the largest number of votes and seats but still fell six seats short; this resulted in a hung parliament where no party was able to command a majority in the National Assembly. Initial results saw the hung parliament for a second consecutive general election—the first being the prior general election in 2008. Potential for a hung parliament was widely considered and predicted as both countries' politicians were better prepared for the constitutional process that would follow such a result, in contrast to 2008.
Speculations for the potential hung parliament were dismissed when the independent candidates joined the PML (N) which allowed that party to form a simple-majority government by bringing on-board nineteen independent candidates, thirteen more than the minimum required to form a government. This swing ultimately resulted in Nawaz Sharif becoming the newPrime Minister of Pakistan.
Prior to the elections, the centre-left PPP formed an alliance with PML(Q), while on the conservative side, the PML (N) allied with PML(F) and Baloch parties. Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan led the right wing PTI, and the Jamaat-e-Islami also participated in the elections. PPP and PML(Q) saw their vote share plummet, with the former being essentially being wiped out in Punjab. 
Main article: Long March (Pakistan)
By Constitution's stipulation on Time of conducting elections in the country, the [general] election are to be held at an interval of five years or whenever parliament is dissolved by the President. Upon dissolution of the National Assembly (a lower house of the Parliament), the elections are to be held within a period of sixty days immediately under a caretaker set–up. The previous elections were held in February 2008 and its term naturally expired on February 2013.
In mid-January 2013, Sufi cleric and politician Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri led a Long March from Lahore to Islamabad, which is over 350 km, demanding the electoral reforms, the quick dissolution of the National Assembly and a precise date for the election. The march attracted about ~50,000 participants from across Pakistan and ended peacefully. However, this appeared to have little impact on the PPP government who continued on as per normal, and were seemingly following their plan as to when to announce elections. The anti-corruption activism led by Imran Khan gathered momentum and political interests.
In the run up to the elections, a US Congressional report provided a brief overview of the PPP government between 2008 and 2013. The annual report included the input of 16 US intelligence agencies, including the CIA, which pointed the policies and performances of the PPP government during their five-year term. The report wanted that "Economically, trouble looms. Pakistan, with its small tax base, poor system of tax collection, and reliance on foreign aid, faces no real prospects for sustainable economic growth. The government has been unwilling to address economic problems that continue to constrain economic growth. The PPP government has made no real effort to persuade its disparate coalition members to accept much-needed monetary policy and tax reforms, because members are simply focused on retaining their seats in the upcoming elections."
Main article: Elections in Pakistan
With assistance from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)announced the printing of computerised electoral rolls, the first of its kind database which resulted in the elimination of 35 million bogus voters off the list.
- 1 August 2012: The Election Commission of Pakistan announces 2012 general elections would be held on the basis of same old constituencies.
- December 2012: The Supreme Court of Pakistan orders delimitation of constituencies and door-to-door verification of voters with the help of Pakistan Army in Karachi.
- 17 January 2013: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) starts door-to-door verification of voters list.
- 3 February 2013: President Asif Ali Zardari announced the date for the general elections in the country, between 8 and 14 March 2013.
- 31 March 2013: Last date to submit the candidates' papers.
Following the recommendations in Article 224 (Clauses 1A-1B) of the constitution of Pakistan, there arose a need to form a caretaker government to operate in the interim period between the normal dissolution of parliament, facilitating the election process, until a new government was formed after the election results were known. To this effect, prime minister Pervez Ashraf wrote a letter to the opposition leaderNisar Ali Khan, requesting him to propose names of persons for appointment as the caretaker prime minister.
The Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N), Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan (JI), Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) all agreed on the name of retired senior justiceNasir Aslam Zahid as the caretaker PM until the elections take place. After a failure to achieve a consensus between the PPP government and the opposition, the matter was forwarded to a parliamentary committee of four members from both the government and the opposition.
Under the provision of Article 224-A (Clause 3) of the constitution, the Election Commission announced the appointment of retired Federal Shariat Courtchief justiceMir Hazar Khan Khoso on 24 March 2013 in a press conference held by chief election commissionerFakhruddin G Ebrahim. Consequently, Khoso was sworn into office as the caretaker prime minister on 25 March 2013, while his caretaker federal cabinet was sworn into office on 2 April 2013.
Following is the final list of registered voters in each district of Pakistan who are eligible to cast their vote.
- The total number of registered voters for the election were 76,194,802.
- The province of Punjab had the highest number of registered voters.
- In cities, five districts of Karachi which form the city of Karachi had a total of 7,171,237 registered voters; more than total voters of the province of Balochistan and more than any other city or district in Pakistan.
- In Balochistan, due to sparse population, some National Assembly seats were shared by two or three districts.
|Province||District||No. of Voters||Seat No|
|BALOCHISTAN||TOTAL||3,336,659||NA-259 to NA-272|
|FATA||Bajaur Agency||353,554||NA-43, NA-44|
|FATA||F.R. D. I. Khan||22,269||NA-47|
|FATA||F.R. Lakki Marwat||9,939||NA-47|
|FATA||Khyber Agency||336,763||NA-45, NA-46|
|FATA||Kurram Agency||262,021||NA-37, NA-38|
|FATA||North Waziristan Agency||160,666||NA-40|
|FATA||South Waziristan Agency||200,666||NA-41, NA-42|
|FATA||TOTAL||1,738,313||NA-36 to NA-47|
|Federal Area||Islamabad||625,964||NA-48, NA-49|
|Khyber Pakhtunkhwa||Abbottabad||675,188||NA-17, NA-18|
|Khyber Pakhtunkhwa||Charsadda||704,680||NA-7, NA-8|
|Khyber Pakhtunkhwa||D. I. Khan||606,959||NA-24|
|Khyber Pakhtunkhwa||Lakki Marwat||330,274||NA-27|
|Khyber Pakhtunkhwa||Lower Dir||541,565||NA-34|
|Khyber Pakhtunkhwa||Mardan||987,122||NA-9, NA-10, NA-11|
|Khyber Pakhtunkhwa||Nowshera||619,914||NA-5, NA-6|
|Khyber Pakhtunkhwa||Peshawar||1,393,144||NA-1, NA-2, NA-3, NA-4|
|Khyber Pakhtunkhwa||Swabi||714,454||NA-12, NA-13|
|Khyber Pakhtunkhwa||Swat||981,823||NA-29, NA-30|
|Khyber Pakhtunkhwa||Tor Ghar||64,867||NA-21|
|Khyber Pakhtunkhwa||Upper Dir||331,004||NA-33|
|KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA||TOTAL||12,266,157||NA-1 to NA-35|
|Punjab||Attock||1,022,180||NA-57, NA-58, NA-59|
|Punjab||Bahawalnagar||1,264,077||NA-188, NA-189, NA-190, NA-191|
|Punjab||Bahawalpur||1,522,061||NA-183, NA-184, NA-185, NA-186, NA-187|
|Punjab||Chiniot||602,290||NA-86, NA-87, NA-88|
|Punjab||Dera Ghazi Khan||1,052,720||NA-171, NA-172, NA-173|
|Punjab||Faisalabad||3,622,748||NA-75, NA-76, NA-77, NA-78, NA-79,|
NA-80, NA-81, NA-82, NA-83, NA-84, NA-85
|Punjab||Gujranwala||2,273,141||NA-95, NA-96, NA-97, NA-98, NA-99, NA-100, NA-101|
|Punjab||Gujrat||1,581,402||NA-104, NA-105, NA-106, NA-107|
|Punjab||Jhang||1,145,415||NA-89, NA-90, NA-91|
|Punjab||Kasur||1,463,575||NA-138, NA-139, NA-140, NA-141, NA-142|
|Punjab||Khanewal||1,301,926||NA-156, NA-157, NA-158, NA-159|
|Punjab||Lahore||4,410,095||NA-118, NA-119, NA-120, NA-121, NA-122, NA-123, NA-124,|
NA-125, NA-126, NA-127, NA-128, NA-129, NA-130
|Punjab||Mandi Bahauddin||815,154||NA-108, NA-109|
|Punjab||Multan||2,110,177||NA-148, NA-149, NA-150, NA-151, NA-152, NA-153|
|Punjab||Muzaffargarh||1,681,436||NA-176, NA-177, NA-178, NA-179, NA-180|
|Punjab||Nankana Sahib||623,625||NA-135, NA-136, NA-137|
|Punjab||Narowal||792,379||NA-115, NA-116, NA-117|
|Punjab||Okara||1,396,811||NA-143, NA-144, NA-145, NA-146, NA-147|
|Punjab||Pakpattan||823,478||NA-164, NA-165, NA-166|
|Punjab||Rahim Yar Khan||1,904,615||NA-192, NA-193, NA-194, NA-195, NA-196, NA-197|
|Punjab||Rawalpindi||2,645,608||NA-50, NA-51, NA-52, NA-53, NA-54, NA-55, NA-56|
|Punjab||Sahiwal||1,190,424||NA-160, NA-161, NA-162, NA-163|
|Punjab||Sargodha||1,861,804||NA-64, NA-65, NA-66, NA-67, NA-68|
|Punjab||Sheikhupura||1,341,341||NA-131, NA-132, NA-133, NA-134|
|Punjab||Sialkot||1,841,347||NA-110, NA-111, NA-112, NA-113, NA-114|
|Punjab||Toba Tek Singh||1,089,508||NA-92, NA-93, NA-94|
|Punjab||Vehari||1,285,562||NA-167, NA-168, NA-169, NA-170|
|PUNJAB||TOTAL||49,259,334||NA-50 to NA-197|
|Sindh||Dadu||609,609||NA-231, NA-232, NA-233|
|Sindh||Hyderabad||923,140||NA-218, NA-219, NA-220, NA-221|
|Sindh||Jacobabad||394,557||NA-208, NA-209, NA-210|
|Sindh||Karachi Central||1,632,487||NA-244, NA-245, NA-246, NA-247|
|Sindh||Karachi East||2,093,898||NA-253, NA-254, NA-255, NA-256|
|Sindh||Karachi South||1,131,376||NA-248, NA-249, NA-250, NA-251, NA-252|
|Sindh||Karachi West||1,493,055||NA-239, NA-240, NA-241, NA-242, NA-243|
|Sindh||Karachi Malir||820,421||NA-257, NA-258|
|Sindh||Khairpur||838,502||NA-215, NA-216, NA-217|
|Sindh||Larkana||585,519||NA-204, NA-205, NA-207|
|Sindh||Mirpur Khas||585,262||NA-226, NA-227|
|Sindh||Naushahro Feroze||600,090||NA-211, NA-212|
|Sindh||Sanghar||793,397||NA-234, NA-235, NA-236|
|Sindh||Shaheed Benazirabad||668,193||NA-213, NA-214|
|Sindh||Tando Muhammad Khan||230,554||NA-222|
|SINDH||TOTAL||18,963,375||NA-198 to NA-258|
With the announcement of the care-taker government, campaigning from parties—including the PPP, PML (N) and PTI—started as early as 27 March, six weeks ahead of the 11 May election date. Observers noted that different parties stressed on different interest groups – PTI on the disaffected youth, PML-N on the centre-right constituency, PPP on liberal classes and rural Sindhis, and MQM on Karachi-based muhajirs. Power shortages were another issue in the election campaign.
Pakistan Peoples Party
Main articles: New Left, Socialism in Pakistan, and Centre-left
Founded in 1968, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is a centre-left and left oriented party, with a mainstream agenda of promoting socialist economics and social justice. The PPP announced that Bilawal Zardari would be its candidate for the next Prime Minister, though Zardari was still too young to become Prime Minister. Article 62 of the Constitution clearly states that the Prime Minister must be a person who is "not less than twenty-five years of age and is enrolled as a voter in any electoral roll for election to the seat". Zardari was not 25 until September 2013. On 5 May 2013, it was revealed that Zardari had left Pakistan for Dubai and would not be present at all on election day. He unexpectedly left the country and would not be addressing any party rallies or meetings. The PPP also announced that he would not return until after the elections are over.
The PPP's campaign was led by Amin Fahim, accompanied by notable leftist activists such as Taj Haider, Aitzaz Ahsan, Raza Rabbani, and Yousaf Gillani. The PPP ran two different political programmes during the election campaign: "Massawat" (lit. Egalitarianism) and "People's Employment Programme" for the youth voters, and also its vintage "Roti Kapda Aur Makaan (lit. Bread, Cloth, House) slogan. The PPP highlighted its implementation of the nationalization and welfare programs that were launched in 2008. In addition, the PPP greatly supported awareness of industrial and labor rights, importance of higher education in the country, promotion of social economics, a foreign policy of building relations with Russia and Eastern Europe, counterterrorism legislation, efforts to reduce gas shortages in the country. Generally, the PPP's main focused was on gathering its support from Sindh. In a critical editorial in the English-language newspaper, The Nation, the PPP neglected to highlight the prevailing issue of energy conservation to reduce the repeated cycle of loadshedding in the country.
Soon after the PM’s last address on 16 March 2013, TV carried live broadcasts from the streets of Lahore and Karachi, where the public mood was one of anger over corruption, the bad economy, and faulty public services. The reaction of political analysts was mixed, with many holding massive corruption and nepotism as the reasons for the government's perceived failures. Even in his televised address, while trumpeting the occasion, PM Raja P Ashraf quietly conceded that his government had also been a source of disappointment for many. Public resentment had been fed by an endless list of problems: enduring power shortages [up to 18 hours a day at the peak of summer]; the failure to curb terrorist attacks, protect religious minorities and formulate a coherent anti-terrorism strategy; slow and weak response to the floods; sluggish economic growth, a bloated public sector, cresting inflation; and tales of legendary corruption, carving out private fortunes from a treasury to which they scandalously paid little in tax. Many Pakistanis, particularly among the urban middle classes, were looking to the next elections with relief.
In Karachi and other parts of the country, the PPP also maintained a New Left alliance with the ANP, MQM, and Communist Party against the conservative parties in Sindh.
Pakistan Muslim League
Main articles: New Right, Centre-right, and Conservatism in Pakistan
The Pakistan Muslim League, a centre-right conservative party, began its campaign on terminating the energy conservation crises, and also the issues involving the national security, economic development, higher education, immigration, and taxation reforms. The campaign was led by Nawaz Sharif, who emphasis the success of the privatisation to alleviate youth employment and small businesses, introducing policies for the environmental preservation, building motorways, counterterrorism legislation, economic liberalisation, improvement of the public transportation in all over the country, and then the decision of authorising the nuclear-testing programme in 1998. Over several days, Sharif delivered speeches and visited in all over the country for the support, promising that: "Just like the nuclear blasts, conducted in our last tenure, made us an atomic power, an economic explosion in our next term will turn the country into a commercial powerhouse." Furthermore, the PML(N) indicated to bring a balance on civil-military relations with the military, through opening a source of political channel to resolve issues.
The PML(N) ran a political programme which was termed as "Ilmi aur Maashi Dhamaka" (lit. Education and Economic boom) at the public circles, and gained a lot of public support from all over the Punjab, and the financial support from the business community in Karachi, which proved to be a crucial factor in PML(N)'s efforts to gain majority in the elections. After delivering a victory speech on May 2013, Nawaz Sharif became Prime Minister for a third term on 5 June 2013 after receiving vote of confidence in the Parliament. He received 244 votes in the 342-seat parliament. The PML(N) was generally supported by PML(F) against the PPP in Sindh and BNP in Balochistan, also against the PPP. Terming it as "EEE programme" for Education, Energy, Economy, the PML(N) popularise its slogan "Stronger Economy–Strong Pakistan", which was released in 2012.
Addressing to the national via news channels representatives, the PML(N) debated that aside from balancing the energy conservation, ending stagflation as well inflation, and resolving the issues relating to counter-terrorism and national security, its quick economic recovery programmes is also aimed to increase the expenditure on education, health, food security, and "non-pension" social security from the annual GDP by 2018, as part of the policy measurement programmes.
Main article: Third Way
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is a conservative and welfarist political party a mainstream political programme of supporting the "Third Way" and "welfarism".
In the midst of election campaign, the PTI's chairman, Imran Khan, called for an inter-party elections for the leadership of the PTI. Many renowned individuals were defeated in the intra-party elections, such as Arif Alvi who was replaced by Pervez Khattak as secretary-general and Ejaz Chaudhary who defeated Ahsan Rasheed. Imran informed the media that no-one from his party will be eligible to hold the post of the party chairman for more than two terms. Motives behind this inter-party elections were to will ultimately finish off the "dynasty-type, family limited companies politics" from the country, as Imran Khan maintained.
The PTI rigorously campaigned on social awareness, social reforms, telecommunication, and the expansion of the e-government in all over the country. Other main points of PTI's campaign was to end the role of country in the War on Terrorism and to regulate private schools' fees structure with the quality of education they provide. The PTI targeted the left-wing policies of PPP and the corruption that took place in state-owned enterprises after underwent through the nationalisation programme, started in 2008 by the PPP.
During a campaign rally in Lahore, Imran fell 14 ft as he was stepping off an improvised forklift. He was seen to be bleeding and unconscious with a gash on his head. He was then taken to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital
Pakistan Muslim League (N)
Pakistan Peoples Party
Muttahida Qaumi Movement
Pakistan Muslim League (F)
Pakhtun-khwa Milli Awami Party
National Peoples Party
Pakistan Muslim League (Q)
Qaumi Watan Party
All Pakistan Muslim League
National Party (Pakistan)
Balochistan National Party
Awami Jamhuri Ittehad Pakistan
Awami Muslim League
Pakistan Muslim League (Z)
Awami National Party