A suicide blast in the southwestern province of Balochistan on July 13 killed 149 people - one of Pakistan's worst-ever terror attacks - underscoring continuing security challenges in the country following years of dramatic improvements.
The Pakistan Army has said it would deploy 371,388 troops at 85,000 polling stations for the July 25 election.
The military has ruled Pakistan through various coups for almost half of the country's history since independence in 1947.
Sunday's attack targeted the vehicle of Ikramullah Gandapur, a candidate of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), or Pakistan Justice Movement, for the provisional legislative assembly in the city of Dera Ismail Khan, two police officials told Reuters. I request all players to get out of their homes on polling day and perform the national duty, said Salahuddin Sallu. Interestingly this will be the second time that Pakistan will have free and democratic transfer of power without the Military meddling in the elections. The voting will start at 8.00 am and will continue till 6.00 pm. The election campaign concluded at midnight yesterday after about two months.
In 2013, the PML-N won 126 seats, while Khan's party came third with 28 seats.
The PTI has accused India of supporting Nawaz Sharif and called it the main conspirator of the'international agenda against Pakistan
The PML-N has accused the powerful military, the country's most powerful institution, of manipulating candidates and the media ahead of the vote in a bid to push out the party and install a pliant government, with Khan seen as the likely beneficiary.
Meanwhile, Akram Khan Durrani, former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister and a key leader of five-party religious alliance Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, escaped an assassination attempt in Bannu district on Sunday.
Despite a massive electoral exercise, there is a big question if the election would bring much needed political and economic stability in the country.
"Ikramullah Gandapur has been killed and we are conducting a post-mortem", said police official Zahoor Afridi.
In Sindh province, the PPP is expected to hold on to its rural base, but there will be an interesting fight for the 21 seats in Karachi, the provincial capital and the country's largest city.
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