World|politics|July 25, 2018 / 12:20 PM
Pakistan's Imran Khan vies for power as country heads to polls

AKIPRESS.COM - Voting has begun in Pakistan after an election campaign overshadowed by concerns of manipulation and violence, BBC reports.

Nearly 106 million people are registered to vote for members of the lower house of parliament and four provincial assemblies.

The PTI party of former star cricketer Imran Khan is hoping to beat ex-leader Nawaz Sharif's PML-N.

But the Human Rights Commission says there have been "blatant" attempts to manipulate the polls.

More than 370,000 troops will be deployed to secure the ballot, which opened at 08:00 (03:00 GMT). Votes will be cast for 272 National Assembly seats that are directly contestable.

Pakistan is no stranger to political turmoil and the last few months have proved no exception. The man who won the last election is watching this contest from prison, after a scandal stemming from the Panama Papers led to Mr Sharif being jailed for corruption.

In an interview with BBC Urdu on Monday, the former prime minister's daughter Maryam Nawaz - who was jailed earlier this month with her father on related charges - criticised the all-powerful military.

"When a prime minister refuses to put down his head and do their [the military's] bidding, they pull him down with four things; get a religious fatwa issued against him, call him a traitor, call him a friend of India, or call him corrupt. They use these things against every elected prime minister," she said.

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