Today is an important day as Pakistanis are electing a new parliament and four provincial assemblies.
The murder of Benazir Bhutto had delayed these parliamentary elections that could mark a victory for the party of the former prime minister, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
But the voting go on under tight security, as everybody fears attacks on polling stations. As a consequence, voting was slow in major city this morning. People stay at home, maybe watching their TV to see if there is a bomb that exploded somewhere. But by midday, no major incidents were reported, so people might decide to get out and vote.
Besides the security’s impressive : close to half a million security personnel, including 80,000 soldiers, have been deployed. According to a BBC’s correspondent, a polling station in Lahore has a heavy police presence and a barrier specially designed to prevent car bombs.
President Musharraf has already warned against street protests, that might happen if people suspect a fraud. Many local observers are on the ground. But there aren’t many international observers. There is a contingent from the EU, but some countries haven’t been invited, while others stayed away because of their concerns about gaining access to the vote.
Still according to BBC’s correspondents, elders have banned women from voting in a tribal area near Peshawar. It may affect the poll result as this area is a stronghold for Pakistan People’s Party, well supported by women.
If you are in Pakistan feel free to leave comments to tell me how you’ve lived these elections.