ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s bloodiest election campaign spanning over three tumultuous weeks came to an end on midnight of Thursday and Friday.
Following the end of a five year democratic term, the upcoming polls are seen as another step that will carry forward the democratic process in Pakistan.
Saturday's vote will be a democratic milestone in Pakistan which has been ruled for half its history by the military.
However, the road to democracy has not been an easy one. Election campaigns across the country were marred by terror threats and Taliban attacks which claimed the lives of at least 117 people including candidates.
The Taliban have singled out the PPP and its coalition partners, the ANP and MQM, in the outgoing government for threats, forcing them to take a low profile and allowing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and cricket legend Imran Khan to steal the limelight.
ECP issues strict guidelines
Following the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), all public meetings and political campaign, including on electronic and print media, must come to a halt.
An ECP official said that any violation of the deadline will warrant disqualification of the concerned candidates. They can be fined and the Returning Officers can withhold their results.
Candidates violating deadline will have to face disqualification, fine up to Rs100,000 or withholding of their results by the returning officers (ROs), an ECP notification added.
The Commission urged the people, candidates and political parties to adhere to law and make possible the holding of election in a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere.