Islamabad: Pakistan votes on Thursday in an election scarred by rising militant attacks, an economic crisis and a deeply polarised political environment, and many analysts believe no clear winner may emerge.
The main contests are expected to be between candidates backed by jailed former prime minister Imran Khan, whose Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won the last national election, and the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) of three-time premier Nawaz Sharif, who is considered the front-runner.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the 35-year-old son of former premier Benazir Bhutto, has also run an aggressive campaign in an outside bid for the top office.
Analysts say there may be no clear winner but Pakistan’s powerful military and intelligence agencies could play a role.
The country is on high alert, with the military deployed at polling stations. Tens of thousands of troops and paramilitary soldiers have been put on duty across the country. Pakistan also said it was closing its borders with Iran and Afghanistan for the day for security purposes.