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ISLAMABAD: At the stroke of midnight – 24 hours before Election Day – the high-pitch election campaign by all political parties for February 08 crucial general elections in the five legislatures of the country came to an end.

In line with the election laws, the ECP had announced that electioneering for February 08 elections would end at 12 on the night between February 6 and 7, 2024.

The ECP issued a notification in this regard, citing Section 182 of the Elections Act 2017, which prohibits any political activity after the specified time period.

Elections 2024: ECP completes printing of 260mn ballot papers for all constituencies

The ECP warned that candidates engaging in political activities after the deadline will face legal consequences. Additionally, the ECP appealed to the media and the masses to collaborate for a free, fair, and transparent election process. Section 182 of the Elections Act, 2017 reads: “Prohibition of public meetings during certain period: No person shall convene, hold or attend any public meeting, or promote or join in any procession, within the area of a constituency or, in the case of the Senate election, a Province, during a period of forty-eight hours ending at midnight ‘following’ the conclusion of the poll for any election in that constituency or Province”.

Likewise, Section 183 reads “penalty for illegal practice: A person guilty of the offence of illegal practice shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to one hundred thousand rupees or with both”.

The ECP warned that any candidate, who would organise or participate in any meeting, procession, corner meeting or any such political activity after the deadline, would face legal action.

The leaders of political parties and contesting candidates are making last-ditch efforts through public gatherings, corner meetings and door-to-door campaigns to garner maximum masses’ support.

The ECP has also completed arrangements for the polling as 90,675 polling stations have been established in all four provinces.

The elections will be held on 266 general seats of the National Assembly and 593 general seats of four provincial assemblies.

A total of 5,121 candidates are in the run for the National Assembly seats, who include 4,807 male, 312 female, and two transgender.

For the four provincial assemblies, 12,695 candidates are in the field including 12,123 males, 570 women, and two transgender.

There are a total of 128,585,760 registered voters in the country.

Punjab has the highest number of 73,207,896 registered voters followed by Sindh with 26,994,769, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with 21,928,119, Balochistan with 5,371,947, and Federal Capital 1,083,029.

The participating parties include Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), the candidates of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) who are contesting elections as independents after the apex court stripped the party of its traditional electoral symbol and various other regional parties.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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