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Pakistani leaders woo voters on last day of deadly campaign


Islamabad   –        Massive election rallies are planned across Pakistan on Monday, the last day of a campaign that was tainted by deadly violence and allegations of military manipulation of the vote.

The leaders of all political parties are set to address their supporters to show their political strength ahead of the polling on Wednesday.

No fewer than 100 million people are eligible to vote in the elections, which would mark only the second democratic transition in Pakistan’s 70-year history marred by frequent coups by the military.

The heads of the leading parties – including former premier Nawaz Sharif’s PMLN, ex-cricketing star Imran Khan’s PTI, and slain ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s PPP – plan to deliver their final speeches in their stronghold cities.

Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party is set to hold rallies in the cities of Lahore and Rawalpindi, the group’s spokesman Mohamed Mehdi said.

The party of Sharif, who is facing a jail term after being convicted on corruption charges, is campaigning with a promise to ensure civilian supremacy in the country largely controlled by the army.

Khan plans to address supporters at several places in Lahore, his spokesman Sibghat Virk told dpa.

Around 180 people, including three candidates, have been killed in suicide bombings claimed by the extremist Islamic State group and the Taliban.

More violent attacks against the political leaders were feared.

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