ISIS claims responsibility for Pakistani polling station blast

Sherman Parsons
July 25, 2018

Daesh terror group later claimed responsibility for the attack via its AMAQ news agency. A suicide bomber at an election rally in the Mastung district killed over 100 people earlier this month.

Pakistanis voted on Wednesday in elections that could propel former World Cup cricketer Imran Khan to power, as security fears intensified with a voting-day blast that killed at least 28 after a campaign marred by claims of military interference.

According to early trends, Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has taken an early lead even as the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have alleged irregularities.

Neither Khan nor Sharif's party appeared likely to win a clear majority in the too-close-to-call election, with final results likely to be known by around 2am local time on Thursday, reports Reuters.

Former global cricket star and socialite Imran Khan is confident that a victory in Pakistan's general elections on Wednesday will kick start a revolution for a country bedeviled by corruption and insecurity.

According to the latest surveys held by Pakistani think-tanks, a neck-to-neck contest is expected between the PTI and the PML-N.

Results will start trickling in within hours, and the likely victor should be known by around 2:00am on Thursday.

Pakistan's election commission reminded candidates their election will be nullified if the female voter turnout does not reach 10 per cent.

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It also documented widespread censorship of the news press, in line with allegations that the military had intimidated journalists when reporting on politics and security issues.

Khan is also leading in NA-95 Mianwali seat, Geo News reported citing unofficial results.

In Pakistan's deeply tribal and religiously conservative North Waziristan, where Taliban insurgents have found safe havens, women voted for the first time on Wednesday, said Mohamad Ayaz Khan, a government administrator. Polling schemes were poorly rationalized, with many voters in the Lahore Cantonment, for instance, indicating they did not know where to go to vote.

The PML (N), however, has an edge over PTI in Punjab, the country's most populous province and political powerbase.

Supporters of Sharif, whose party is now led by his younger brother, Shehbaz, argue his downfall was politically motivated and engineered by the army establishment, representing a blow to the "sanctity of the vote" that gave his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) a majority in the last elections. "We will bring an end to unemployment, eradicate poverty and promote education".

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. He has denied any wrongdoing.

"My vote and my heart are both with Imran Khan", said Peshawar university student Naveed Ashraf, 24, who wants Khan to improve the quality of education and reduce school and college fees. He has vowed to create 10 million jobs if he comes to power and promised to build "world-class" schools and hospitals.

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