Pakistan blast: Dozens killed, wounded outside polling station

Pakistan blast: Dozens killed, wounded outside polling station

Pakistan blast: Dozens killed, wounded outside polling station

In Pakistan's restive Balochistan province, a suicide blast targeting a police van killed at least 28 people, including five policemen, and almost 30 other were injured in a blast near Quetta's Eastern Bypass, The Express Tribune reported.

Authorities say the explosion at a polling station in Quetta, the capital of the Balochistan province, was triggered by a suicide bomber. Beyond the 30 killed, another 35 victims were in critical condition, said Kamran Kasi, a doctor at Quetta's Civil Hospital.

The first voter to enter a polling station in the eastern city of Lahore was a woman, business executive Maryum Arif, who told AFP she planned to vote for the PML-N as "it has served Pakistan". Clashes erupted between rival parties outside several polling stations, reports said.

Results for the 11th general elections are expected to trickle in immediately after the polling ends with the final outcome likely by Thursday morning or afternoon, according to election officials.

PPP leaders recently have joined PML-N in decrying "pre-poll rigging" involving restricted campaigning, quashed media coverage and candidates intimidated by military officers to change allegiance to Khan.

Khan is campaigning on populist promises to build a "New Pakistan", vowing to eradicate corruption, clean up the environment and construct an "Islamic welfare" state.

The European Union's election observation mission in Pakistan sharply condemned the suicide blast in Quetta in a statement.

Over four lakh security personnel have been deployed at polling stations across the country to maintain law and order and take action against harassment, after the nation witnessed one of the bloodiest campaigning, inlcuding the July 13 bombing that killed 150 people.

Imran Khan has traded his cricket flannels for political life
Camera Icon Imran Khan has traded his cricket flannels for political

Asked about allegations that the Pakistan Army is meddling in the elections, the spokesperson said the U.S. will not comment on Pakistan's internal politics.

As part of security measures for election day, the Peshawar district administration has imposed a ban on the movement of Afghan refugees from their camps.

The so-called Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the group's AMAQ news agency.

PTI chief Imran Khan cast his vote in an Islamabad constituency from where he is also contesting.

The military, which has ruled Pakistan for almost half of its 71-year history, denies any effort to influence the election.

Several parties in Pakistan will contest for 342 assembly seats, which includes 272 general seats, while 60 of them are reserved for the women and around 10 of them are reserved for the minorities.

Former prime minister Sharif, the supremo of the PML-N who was jailed this month after being convicted in a corruption case, also accused the military of pressuring the judiciary to convict him. An attack earlier this month in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province killed 149 people, including a parliamentary candidate. The leading among them are Mumbai-terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led banned Jamat-ud Dawa's candidates who are fighting with an aim to make Pakistan a "citadel of Islam".

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