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May 09, 2013

Pakistan Prepares for Historic Election

by VOA News

Pakistanis head to the polls to vote on a new government Saturday, marking the first handover from one civilian government to another in the country's history.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is seen as the likely winner in the parliament elections. He has apparently been able to capitalize on failures of the outgoing coalition government to tackle the power crisis, economic challenges and the Taliban insurgency.

This week's back-to-back bombings of two rallies of a leading Islamic party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, have strengthened views the Taliban are opposed to democracy and are targeting anyone taking part in the elections.

In the run up to the elections, the militants have killed more than 100 people and wounded scores more since late April.

Pakistan's military says it is deploying thousands of troops to polling stations and counting centers to prevent the Taliban from disrupting the vote.

Pakistani politician and former cricketer Imrah Khan had been campaigning for his Pakistan Movement for Justice party, but had to stop after a dramatic fall Tuesday at an election rally in Lahore. Khan has made a plea from his hospital bed for people to vote for his PTI party in the May 11 elections.