Asia

Pakistan election: Voters' views

  • 15 May 2013
  • From the section Asia

Pakistan held elections on 11 May, which paved the way for the first transition from one elected government to another.

Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) is poised to serve an unprecedented third term as prime minister. The PPP of late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was beaten into a distant second place, while former cricketer Imran Khan's Movement for Justice Party (PTI), which became popular among the urban middle class and young voters, came third.

There have been reports of irregularities and vote rigging during election day, with pictures and videos circulating on social media sites.

Here, Pakistanis share their voting experiences and their reaction to the election outcome.

Ayesha Shaukat, 42, NGO worker, Islamabad

Me and my whole family voted for Imran Khan. Sharif's victory didn't surprise us but we didn't think he'd get quite so many seats.

Image caption Ayesha Shaukat: I'm glad we sent the PPP home

Equally, I didn't expect Imran Khan to win, but I was hoping he'd get half a dozen more seats.

So I think something is not right. There is a lot of talk about vote rigging right now, and while I haven't witnessed any, my family in Lahore did.

My cousin and aunt were prevented from voting. They were asked to identify themselves and put a thumb impression next to their names, but then they weren't given a ballot paper.

All the women around them were in the same situation.

They stayed there for a while shouting to be given ballot papers and in the end went home.

Someone else has probably voted on their behalf. This happened in an area where PML-N candidates won seats.

On the whole I'm glad that Pakistan sent the PPP home.

Although this is not the result I was hoping for - anything is better than the PPP. The Bhuttos are simply irrelevant to the new Pakistan!

These are exciting times but Sharif has a huge challenge before him - everything now hinges on whether he has learnt from the past or understood the new realities.

People no longer care about bullet trains but about food, health, education and water.

The PML-N has won in an increasingly impatient Pakistan, where if they don't deliver - they'll be shown the door in five years.

Fahad Aziz, student, Lahore

Image caption Fahad Aziz: Election outcome is great for the country

I voted for the PML-N and I am very happy with the outcome of this election. I can't say that the elections were totally fair but they were much better than before in terms of rigging.

It takes time and effort to conduct fair elections, so the result we had is an achievement for Pakistan.

I voted for a better Pakistan. I've seen the great developmental progress under the regional leadership of PLM-N in our province for the past five years.

Travelling on the roads of Lahore nowadays is a different experience - most of the roads are repaired and the new metro bus scheme is benefiting thousands of commuters.

They've distributed free laptops and solar lamps to students on merit. There never have been so many art exhibitions.

If this party continues their work on national level, that would be a great thing for the country.

As a student, I am looking forward to educational reforms more than ever.

KS Gulzar, lecturer, Islamabad

Image caption K S Gulzar: Despite its dismal governance record, I side with the PPP because of its ideological position

The recent elections in Pakistan proved to be an occasion for reflection and affirmation of political ideologies for voters across Pakistan.

The silence of left-wing liberal forces within the political spectrum of Pakistan is a cause for apprehension.

Left-wing voters feel alienated and disillusioned.

Issues like freedom of religion, empowerment of women and denunciation of radicalisation are very close to my heart.

I find the PPP to be the solitary entity that takes a clear stance on these matters.

Despite its dismal governance record, I side with the PPP because of its ideological position. No other party deserves my vote.

Jav, 24, advertising worker, Karachi

The irregularities we saw were shocking. My polling station was supposed to open at 08:00, but it only opened at 11:30. Others didn't open until 15:00 and others didn't open at all!

There was nobody available on the premises, nobody to direct citizens and answer questions. By the time they opened, the queues were already ridiculously long. Some people had to wait for 12 hours.

Still, I managed to vote - others weren't so lucky.

My friend took the matter into her own hands when she discovered that ballot boxes hadn't arrived at her polling station. She used her connections and arranged the transportation of the boxes herself.

There was lots of disorganisation and lots of pictures and videos have been posted online to show evidence of vote rigging.

The only conversation at the moment is about what happened, the confusion, the unease we all felt. These were votes for Imran Khan that were lost.

The only good thing for me was that people were very united. People were so determined to vote that they put up with waiting for hours.

Morale was high, we were helping each other with information, water, whatever was needed. That aspect was truly special.

Nasir Mehmood, 28, mathematics lecturer, Burewala

Image caption Nasir Mehmood: Imran Khan's PTI will push the government to perform better

I am very pleased with the election result, it's the best outcome for Pakistan.

The previous government failed to deliver on many issues. We are particularly suffering now because of the energy problem which destroyed the economy. I think this is the main reason for their failure in this election.

The PLM-N have done very well on the economy while in previous governments. They've developed infrastructure, roads, industry.

Their biggest support comes from the business community and these people know how to revive the economy. They will soon put Pakistan back on the track of economic development and social uplift.

What is more significant is that Imran Khan's PTI has emerged as a strong alternative. He will push the central government to perform better.

Interviews by Krassimira Twigg and BBC Urdu

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