Pakistan hobbles towards May 11 polls
Islamabad: Pakistan, which has seen its first full-term civilian government, is headed for an election which has drawn a former military strongman back home, will test a former cricket icon's political agility and see a large number of eager first-time voters - all under the shadow of terror.
Pakistan's elected government completed its full five-year term March 17, an unprecedented development in a country that has seen four military dictators, the last of whom was General Pervez Musharraf. The country of 180 million is headed to general elections May 11 that will see 84 million voters, including 36 million women, exercising their franchise.
But, there are only 36 women candidates for the 272 National Assembly general seats, prompting a Pakistani daily to note that parties had once again relegated women's participation in the transition of power to the sidelines. "Now that tickets have been awarded for the May 11 polls, it's clear that while political parties may court the female vote for its strategic value, they cannot bring themselves to consider women as viable candidates for general seats," Dawn said in an editorial.
The elections are going to be held under a caretaker government with Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, a former judge of the country's top court, being made the caretaker prime minister.