Saturday, May 11, 2013

 

32 killed, over 200 injured during election day in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, May 11 - At least 32 people were killed and 224 others injured in a number of attacks and violence incidents across Pakistan during the general election day on Saturday, local media reported.



According to local Urdu TV channels, totally 43 violence incidents including bomb blasts, firing and rocket attacks were observed in different parts of the country that killed 32 besides leaving 224 others injured during the 10-hour polling time that ended at 6:00 p.m. (local time).
Pakistan's southern province of Sindh was the worst hit region where 17 incidents of different kinds were reported that killed 16 people and wounded 135 others while 15 people were killed in its capital port city of Karachi alone.
At least 11 people were killed and 36 others got injured in a bomb blast that went off near a polling station in the Quaidabad area of Karachi.
Overall 10 incidents were reported from southwestern province of Balochistan, that killed 10 people besides leaving 34 others wounded.
The country's largely populated eastern province of Punjab and northwestern restive province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa remained relatively less attacked with eight incidents each.
At least six people lost their lives and 23 got injured in Punjab alone, while 32 people sustained injuries in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Although the government made claims to provide foolproof security to the polling stations, but majority of the attacks took place near or inside the polling stations where people were gathering to cast their votes.
Despite the number of attacks across the country, overall security situation during the election hours in the country remained satisfactory.
Secretary of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan, told a news conference on Saturday that the election was relatively peaceful despite some attacks and complaints, particularly in the country's southern port city of Karachi.
He said that he is hopeful that the turn-out was huge and the exact figure of voting will be determined after the counting process is completed.
He said the ECP has taken notice of allegation of fraud and all those allegations are being looked into and there will be no compromise on transparency of the elections.
Some small political parties, including Jamaat-e-Islami, Muhajir Qaumi Movement and Sunni Ittehad, boycotted the elections against the occupation of several polling stations by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a Karachi-based local party which mainly represents the Urdu-speaking people who migrated from India.
The polling started at 8:00 a.m. local time in the morning and continued uninterrupted up to 5:00 p.m. local time before the ECP extended the polling time for one hour to facilitate the people to cast their vote.
Secretary of Election Commission said that the time was extended as many people had not been able to cast vote due to crowds at the polling stations and delay in the start of polling process in some areas.
According to the ECP, totally 86.1 million registered voters in the country including over 48.6 million male and 37.5 million female voters were eligible to cast their votes for the national and provincial assemblies seats.
Out of the 272 seats of the 342-member National Assembly, elections took place in 268 constituencies as electoral process in four National Assembly seats could not be held due to death of candidates and poor law and order situation.
Polling for the 572 seats out of the 728-member provincial assemblies was also held on Saturday.
Election on special seats for women and minorities will be determined later on the basis of seats the parties will get in general elections.
Pakistan army deployed more than 75,000 troops across the country to assist the police and other law enforcement agencies for general election.
During the 22-day campaign for the elections, over 110 people including three candidates were killed and over 350 injured in the bomb attacks and firing by the unknown assailants.
Majority of the attacks were claimed by the banned militant outfit Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that released threats on a number of occasions to sabotage the elections.
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