–Political parties conduct final efforts to secure votes as deadliest election season at concluding stage
–Shehbaz claims PML-N victory in centre and Punjab, Imran calls July 25 the beginning of ‘Naya Pakistan’
–Nawaz sends emotional message from Adiala Jail, Bilawal says he’s ready to fulfil his mother’s dream
–All troops deployed to provide secure environment, ISPR says
ISLAMABAD: In one of the bloodiest election seasons that claimed the lives of three candidates, the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) deadline for electioneering activities expired on Monday midnight as major political parties held their final power shows with high hopes.
Hundreds have lost their lives in the blood fest of attacks on electoral candidates and workers. In Mastung suicide attack alone, the death toll climbed to over 150. Polling was postponed in several constituencies due to unforeseen circumstances.
Section 182 of the Act sets the 48-hour deadline for the candidates after which no rallies or corner meetings will be allowed. Print and electronic media will also be barred from carrying advertisements promoting political parties.
Both the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) held rallies in major cities of Punjab, which has more than half of National Assembly seats and will play a key role in determining the winner of the general election.
‘PML-N IS WINNING’:
The PML-N ended its election campaign with a public rally of Shehbaz Sharif in Dera Ghazi Khan — where he is contesting for an NA seat, while his son Hamza led a rally from Mochi Gate to Data Darbar in Lahore.
Shehbaz Sharif was earlier scheduled to address a gathering at Liaqat Bagh Rawalpindi, but the event was canceled late afternoon.
In Basti Talpur, he stressed that his party is going to win despite all injustices. The PML-N will win in centre and Punjab, a confident Shehbaz exclaimed.
NAWAZ’S MESSAGE FROM ADIALA:
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, in his message from Adiala Jail, urged the masses to vote for the PML-N. In his audio message shared on daughter Maryam Nawaz’s Twitter handle, he said, “The time has come for you to make this movement a success, and announce such a historic verdict which may sweep all those verdicts away that have made Pakistan a graveyard of justice.”
He added, “Set out of your homes after the Fajr prayers on July 25, with utmost resolve and determination, and vote for Muslim League-Nawaz for your dignity and sanctity of your vote.”
‘JULY 25, NEW PAKISTAN’:
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addressed supporters at multiple places in Lahore — with large gatherings held at Jallo Mor and WAPDA Town — before the party formally ended its campaign with a jalsa at Data Darbar.
In NA-125, he addressed a massive crowd at the Data Darbar where his followers chanted ‘Wazir-e-Azam Imran Khan’. Calling Yasim Rashid, PTI candidate from the constituency, an ‘Iron Lady’, he asked the kids to “their families to vote”.
“This is the most important election where all the status quo parties have joined up together against PTI,” he stated.
He said, “The world says Pakistan is descending into chaos. Today I am entrusting the children of the country to mobilise their families to make a Naya Pakistan.”
“July 25 is when we will become a nation, when all our provinces think as one nation. When all of us, different minorities along with us, will work as one nation,” he stated, suggesting his voters to sleep early and “get to the polling stations early”. He asked the polling agents to refrain from leaving till the results are counted.
FULFIL BENAZIR’S DREAM:
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari ended his party’s election campaign by offering fateha at the shrines of the Bhuttos in Garhi Khuda Bux.
Bilawal began his activities on Monday from Larkana and visited Naudero and Rato Dero before heading on to Qambar Shahdadkot. He also addressed rallies at Shikarpur, Sujawal and Jacobabad’s 15 Chowk.
In Jacobabad, he asked everyone to vote for democracy. “I am out here trying to fulfill the promise of my mother Benazir Bhutto and to save Pakistan,” he said.
Bilawal said the manifesto of the party reflected its ideology and philosophy. During the last provincial tenure, the party had sincerely tried to resolve the water issue and tackled problems of masses.
“We had provided interest-free loans to poor women and if our government comes into power after the election then the programme would continue across the country,” he vowed.
He said, “Vote for arrow to establish a government of the people.”
MQM AND MMA:
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) held its final rally atop the Liaqatabad Flyover in Karachi, while Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), an alliance of religious parties, held a jalsa in Islamabad’s G-10 sector.
Addressing the people of Liaqatabad, MQM-P leader Farooq Sattar said his party would secure a victory with big margin over all opponents. PSP, MQM-P’s major competitor in Karachi, also winded up its electioneering and made the final appeal to the voters.
According to a statement issued by Pakistan Army’s media cell, the deployment of troops was completed across the country in their respective areas of responsibility.
The ISPR said they will provide “mandated assistance to ECP in conduct of free, fair and transparent Elections 2018”.
The troops will coordinate “with other law enforcement agencies and local administration to ensure a safe and secure environment,” the statement added.