ISLAMABAD: Polling stations closed, “huge turnout in Punjab”

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ISLAMABAD: Polling stations closed at 6pm (1300 GMT) in Pakistan’s historic general elections, which saw a “huge” turnout in the largest province of Punjab, an election commission official announced.

“The election commission of Pakistan was successful in conducting the elections. We have a huge turnout in Punjab,” commission secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed told a news conference, confirming that polling stations would close at 6pm.

Voting will continue until 1500 GMT in seven Karachi constituencies where polling stations opened late, officials have said.

Ahmed stopped short of announcing a precise figure for turnout, but said that it was “very good” across the country in general.

Supporters of rival parties accused each other of rigging, particularly in Karachi where Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami boycotted the poll after pointing the finger at Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which controls the city.

Addressing concerns about fraud, Ahmed said: “We will not hide anything. If we have a complaint from any polling station, we will take notice of it.

“Rest assured, there will be no compromise on the transparency of the election.”

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