Pakistan Race Tightens on Eve of Historic Vote

Police and rescue workers inspect the car of Ikramullah Gandapur after he was killed in a suicide bombing on the election campaign trail

Police and rescue workers inspect the car of Ikramullah Gandapur after he was killed in a suicide bombing on the election campaign trail

Indian media has launched a campaign against cricket-turned-politician Imran Khan as he is hoping for landslide victory in much-anticipated General Elections 2018.

According to the electoral rolls, 105.96 million voters are eligible to cast the vote.

Questions have also been raised about the role of the military after reports that it was given magisterial powers. In addition, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM) consisting of 100 observers will also monitor the elections.

However, supporters of Sharif argue his downfall was politically motivated, with his younger brother, Shehbaz, now leading the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Both institutions deny the charge.

For all these reasons, the human rights commission has said there are "ample grounds" to question the legitimacy of the polls, "with alarming implications for Pakistan's transition to an effective democracy".

Some of the infamous Pakistani extremist leaders, accused of spreading religious hatred and instigating sectarian violence, are among hundreds of candidates contesting the elections.

Addressing a rally in Sargodha late on Saturday, the PML-N chief said: "If I do not end [the] load shedding crisis in six months, you can change my name", adding "they (Indians) will come to Wahga Border and call Pakistani's their master".

Rescue workers remove the body of Ikramullah Gandapur
Rescue workers remove the body of Ikramullah Gandapur Credit AP

For the first time in 2013, a civilian government in Pakistan completed its five-year term.

General elections were held in 1990, 2 years after coming to power.

Almost 106 million Pakistanis, including more than 19 million new voters, will be eligible to cast their ballots on Wednesday. About 400,000 police officers and 371,000 army troops have been deployed across the country.

In all, 85,307 polling stations have been set up across the country. The voting will start at 8.00 am and will continue till 6.00 pm. The counting of votes will be done on the spot soon after polling is concluded and results will be announced within 24 hours. The PPP could emerge as a coalition kingmaker if no party wins a majority, as many expect. Sharif's party tops another poll with 26 percent compared to 25 percent for Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

Recent polls show PTI's popularity climbing nationally.

Gandapur served as the provincial agricultural minister in the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

Nawaz Sharif no doubt did an acclaimed job establishing the military jails and making an NAP ( National Action Plan) in an effort to wipe out the terrorism from Pakistan and especially from terror-cum-panic-stricken cities. As many as 750,000 polling staff will perform duty on the election day.

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