Over 30 dead as Pakistan braves Taliban to vote
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Over 30 dead as Pakistan braves Taliban to vote

Last Updated: Saturday, May 11, 2013, 23:27
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Over 30 dead as Pakistan braves Taliban to vote Islamabad: Bombings and street clashes left at least 32 people dead and over 200 others injured on Saturday as millions of Pakistanis defied Taliban threats and voted to elect a new parliament and four provincial assemblies.

The European Union Observers Mission praised the elections as "very encouraging" and said people appeared "much enthusiastic" about choosing a new leadership, media reports said.

It is the first time since independence in 1947 that any civilian government completed five years in office. The ballot will mark Pakistan's first democratic transition from one elected government to another.

Despite Taliban threats asking people to stay at home, long queues of voters were seen in many places in a country beset with problems ranging from failing economy to unending terror attacks.

The counting of votes has begun and the exact number of people who voted was not immediately clear. But officials and reports spoke of a mammoth turnout. Pakistan has 86 million voters. Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wins from Sargodha constituency in Punjab province.

Voting was held for 269 of the 342 seats of the National Assembly and 728 seats in the assemblies of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The polling began at 8 a.m. and was to end at 5 p.m. But it was extended by an hour. In Karachi, which saw plenty of trouble, balloting was allowed until 8 p.m.

Both former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former cricketer Imran Khan, two of the main contenders for power along with the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), voiced satisfaction over the turnout.

Sharif, chairman of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), said the peaceful election was a "good omen".

Imran Khan, who heads the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, said people voted "fearlessly" in Punjab, the largest of four provinces, and that turnout in Sindh and Balochistan were satisfactory.

Soon after balloting began, 10 people were killed and 50 injured as a huge explosion tore through a group of voters near a polling station in Karachi.

Citing Urdu TV channels, Xinhua said 43 incidents including bomb blasts, firing and rocket attacks took place in different parts of the country.

Sindh province was the worst hit, where 17 incidents were reported, leaving at least 16 people dead and 135 others injured.

In Balochistan, 10 people were killed while six people lost their lives in Punjab.

Election officials admitted Saturday that they failed to hold free and fair polls in the country's largest city of Karachi, where voting was marred by two blasts and other incidents of violence.

The violent run-up to the elections left at least 100 people, including three candidates, dead in terror attacks after the Taliban told Pakistanis to boycott the elections.

The Islamists targeted "secular parties". In an audacious act, gunmen abducted former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's son from a meeting in Multan.

The violence and threats forced most political parties to confine themselves to rely extensively on appeals through the electronic media.

"We want change, we are really fed up with the old faces coming back to power every time and doing nothing for the nation," BBC quoted 74-year-old Abdul Sattar as saying in Islamabad.

Leading Pakistanis urged the people to vote.

"When good people do not vote, bad people benefit," said Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim after voting.

President Asif Ali Zardari voted through postal ballot. His son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari could not vote as he was not allowed the same facility. The president's two daughters, Aseefa and Bakhtawar, also voted by post.

The Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) alleged vote rigging in Karachi.

Geo News reported that the Sunni Ittehad Council and Jamaat-e-Islami would also boycott polls in Karachi. The Jamhoori Wattan Party did so in Balochistan.

Over 30 dead as Pakistan braves Taliban to vote Imran Khan's associate Arif Alvi accused MQM of wrongdoing and said his party workers were tortured in many areas of Karachi, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

Over 30 dead as Pakistan braves Taliban to vote More than 600,000 security personnel and soldiers were deployed across the country Saturday.

IANS

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First Published: Saturday, May 11, 2013, 08:14
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ansar.cp - abu dhabi
Imran khan you will win
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athar ahmad - pakistan
imran khan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you wil win
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Sylvia - England
My love, support and vote is for Imran Khan!
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Umar - Isb
there are 272 seats of NA not 342 seats of the National Assembly
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BASAVARAJ - HUBLI
the person hold the sword will be died by swordjo aadmi doosro ko khadde khodata hi woh khud khadde me gir jata hi.there is no one having guts to face paki talibanis,but dream of breaking indians and also dont know how to protect the common civilians in pakistan killing innocent people either in pak or in India people merely only show how coward they are agar apni maa ka doodh piya hi to samne aakar ladhai chedo phir uski aukat batayenge,peeth peeche war karns/hatredness paida karna ye sab paki solders/politicians ka khasiayat hi ab bhugatoye mat bhoolo ki agar pak India me aata to u would have enjoyed the same as Indian muslims enjoy here
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Krishna Bhagat Prasad - raipur
Pakistan`s economic condition is not as such that they can afford to give bullect proof jackets to all voters.It is hard to have fair elections in Pakistan.
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c.n.mehta - ahmedabad-india
PAKISTAN IS YOUNGER BROTHER SO FAR AS INDIA IS CONCERNED. BOTH THE COUNTRIES ARE BORN ALMOST AT THE SAME TIME. WE HAVE SAME CULTURE ,SAME FOOD ETC. BUT SOME HOW WE BOTH CONSIDER ENEMIES OF EACH OTHER.PAKISTAN IS FACING ACUTE FINANCIAL PROBLEMS, TALLIBANS ARE UP IN ARMS AND ROARING EVERY DAY WITH KILLING HUNDREDS OF INNOCENT LIVES. HENCE, PAKISTAN IS TRAPPED IN A MOST DANGEROUS. SITUATION WHEN A NEW GOVT. IS FORMED IN THIS WEEK, REMOVAL OF TERRORIST CAMPS MUST BE THE FIRST PRIORITY.ALL TALIBAN CULTURE SHOULD BE DEMOLISHED. AND A NEW PAKISTAN SHOULD TAKE A BIRTH WHEREIN ALL MINORITIES CAN LIVE PEACEFULLY . GOOD RELATIONS WITH INDIA SHOULD BE A JOB OF TOP MOST PRIORITY AS THEN THE KASHMIR PROBLEM SHALL AUTOMATICALLY GET SOLVED WITH BETTER ATMOSPHERE & WITH LITTLE & GIVE ARRANGEMENTS . PLEASE DO NOT FORGET THAT MOST MUSLIMS IN OUR BOTH COUNTRIES FLOW THE SAME BLOOD AS INDIANS.
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Ahmed - Pakistan
Try to turn the caps lock off. It is really annoying when people descrive their opinions with caps lock on, it seems that they are trying to shout at you. Thanks
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AJ Malik - Doha
Pakistan is on the path of getting to an MEDC.. which is good news !
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AJ Malik - Doha
Pakistan is on the path of getting to an MEDC.. which is good news !
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Hardev - New Delhi
The large turnout of voters beholds good for the country. They have spunedth fundamentlists and the Taliban. However India has nothing to look forward to as no party is going to hold its hand.
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iqbal khan - riyadh
wish and hope that our next prime minister will be king khan inshallah......
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muhammad aamir - jhamat dist attock
vote do mian nawaz ko
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Most liked Comments

D.N.MAKHIJA - DELHI.................INDIA
PAKISTAN SHOULD MAKE BOMB PROOF VOTING BOOTHS AND DISTRIBUTE BULLET PROOF JACKETS TO ALL VOTERS.........



AJ Malik - Doha
Pakistanis want a change and Imran Khan is the one that`s gonna make this change .. so vote for Imran Khan !! :)



sosheel daniel - pakistan
mr makhija we dont need any bomb proof jacket ye buzdil log kartay hain aur hum zinda dil hain apnay mulk k liye jan bi qurban kar saktay hain.





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