May 11, 2013, midnight
Pakistan held parliamentary elections on May 11th where voters elected 342 members to the National Assembly. Veteran politician Nawaz SHARIF’s PML-N (Pakistani Muslim League-Nawaz) party made a political comeback by winning 124 seats, and capturing Other parties running in this election included the incumbent Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) headed by Bilawal Zardari Bhutto, son of former President Asif Ali Zardari and the late Benezir Bhutto, and ex-Cricketer Imran KHAN’s newly formed Movement Justice/Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. Both parties lagged behind the PML-N with the PPP and PML winning 31 and 27 seats, respectively. SHARIF’s victory is significant considering his removal from power in 1999 by General Pervez Musharraf’s coup, which forced him into exile for 7 years.
In March this year Pakistan marked its first ever completion of a civilian term of government without military intervention. In a country of 86, 189,802 registered voters, voter turnout was exceptionally high with figures of 100 percent being reported in at least 49 polling stations according to observer group FAFEN (Free and Fair Election Network). However, the group also notes that pre-election violence in parts of the country like Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) claimed over 400 lives and injured approximately 1000 people.