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Pakistan's Bloodiest Election Campaign Comes To An End



ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s bloodiest election campaign ever came to an end overnight, marred by terror threats and attacks that killed at least 117 people including candidates, reports Dawn.

On Friday, a motorbike bomb near party political offices killed three people and wounded 13 in the northwestern town of Miranshah, while five people were injured in an explosion near the office of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in Quetta, according to The News.

On Thursday, Ali Haider Gilani, one of the candidates who is also the son of former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, was kidnapped during a corner meeting in the central city of Multan. His secretary and guard were shot dead reports The News. Former Prime Minister Gilani told the media: “I urge all of my party supporters to remain peaceful and to participate in the vote.” It is not known who abducted Gilani or why.

Saturday’s vote is considered a democratic milestone in a country that has been ruled by the military for half of its history, writes Dawn. The election will mark the country’s first transition from one civilian government to another.

Nawaz Sharif, who leads the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), is tipped to be the next prime minister. Cricket legend Imran Khan, leader of the Movement for Justice party (PTI), is another strong contender. Polls show both parties neck and neck, according to Dawn.

A contingent of 124,000 security personnel, including 20,000 army troops will be deployed at polling stations on Saturday after the Taliban threatened to carry out suicide attacks, reports the Nation.

“There is a clear feeling that the election that will take place tomorrow is a watershed,” wrote columnist M A Niazi in the Nation.

Today's front pages in Pakistan:

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