Many observers conclude that the Taliban are averse to the idea of democracy because of their fear of the results, not because of its purported incompatibility with Islam.
Samar Haroon Bilour and Sardar Aghaz Gandapur -- who lost her husband and his father, respectively, to suicide attacks -- emerged victorious in the Sunday elections.
Despite reported irregularities in the July general elections, Pakistani opposition leaders are pinning great hopes on the new government to advance democratic ideals and process.
Pakistani prime minister-elect Imran Khan in his election victory speech vowed to improve relations with Afghanistan with an emphasis on open borders and free trade.
Just two of the 1,500 candidates fielded by Islamic fundamentalist parties won seats in the general elections in an apparent rejection of radicalism.
For many women, voting in general elections was once just a dream. That all changed last week.
Extremism, the economy, population growth, water shortages and civil-military relations are the top concerns looking forward, analysts say.
Khan pledged accountability and policy reforms to benefit all Pakistanis, as rival parties claimed vote rigging and demanded independent oversight of the vote count.
More than 19 million new voters, including millions of women and youths, may prove decisive in the contest.