Pakistan elections 2018: 105 million voters, over 3 lakh troops and other big numbers

The highest number of eligible voters ever in the country. The highest number of security personnel deployed for elections ever in the country. The highest number of electoral officials ever deputed in the country. Clearly, voting day in Pakistan elections 2018 is a massive exercise in giving democracy a chance once again.

Pakistan elections 2018: 105 million voters, over 3 lakh troops and other big numbers
Reuters Photo

Democracy has never been counted as one of Pakistan's strengths but the country once again gives it a shot as it goes to vote to elect the next Prime Minister on Wednesday (July 25). The battle lines are drawn, the stakes are high and promises lofty.

Here is a quick check on all the big numbers that promise to turn a heated pre-poll campaign into an electoral pot-boiler.

* There are 105 million* registered voters who are eligible to cast their vote in the July 25 elections - 105, 955, 407 to be absolutely specific. This number is a 23% jump from previous elections held in 2013.

* The minimum voting age is 18. According to official data accessed by Pakistan-based Dawn, 17.4 million voters are aged between 18 and 25 while another 28.99 million are between 26 and 35. There are 22.48 million voters in the 36-45 age bracket.

* There are 3765* national assembly candidates.

* There are 110* registered political parties.

* 85,000* polling booths have been set-up across the country. For comparative purposes alone, there were 930,000 polling stations in India during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections here.

* In the last elections here - in 2013, the voter turnout was 55%*. Again, for comparative purposes only, the average voter turnout in Lok Sabha elections 2014 in India, the average voter turnout over nine phases was around 66%.

* 370,000 troops have been deployed to ensure order is maintained on Wednesday. There are another 1.6 million electoral officials. These are unprecedented numbers in the country.

* Initial indications from voting are expected by 2000hrs (Pakistan local time) on Wednesday night while a definite indication can be expected by 0200hrs on Thursday (Pakistan local time).

Little wonder then that not just in Pakistan but people the world over may follow the voting process closely. In a country where the role of political parties have often been made subservient to the country's military and secret service agencies, democracy - or some semblance of it - remains a beacon of hope for peace and prosperity. While many suspect that the role of the military and secret services will continue unabated regardless of how people vote, the two main leaders battling it out - PML-N's Shehbaz Sharif and PTI's Imran Khan - have both made a treasure-trove of promises. Some controversial figures, like terrorist Hafiz Saeed, are looking for a political foothold by nominating representatives as electoral candidates - a move that has stamped the entire election process with a massive question mark.

(Also read: How much is Pakistan spending on elections 2018?)

Under these circumstances, can Pakistanis actually vote for a new dawn? Will minorities - often persecuted here - finally get a voice? What about reports of women being barred from voting in several parts of the country? What about relations with nemesis India and sponsoring terrorism against her? And what has fate in store for the country's former PM in Nawaz Sharif who has been jailed on corruption charges and is reportedly suffering from kidney problems? Questions are aplenty, challenges even more but an inked finger - even if it is for just a day - could have the answers and the solutions.

* Data from Election Commission of Pakistan

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