News / Asia

Attack Caps Wave of Violence Ahead of Pakistan Election

An army soldier stands with a police officer in front of a damaged Pakistan People's Party (PPP) election campaign office after a bomb blast, in Quetta, May 10, 2013.
An army soldier stands with a police officer in front of a damaged Pakistan People's Party (PPP) election campaign office after a bomb blast, in Quetta, May 10, 2013.
VOA News
Bombings on the eve of Pakistan's landmark election have killed at least four people and wounded 18 others.  

The four died in a blast Friday near political party offices in North Waziristan, a Taliban and al-Qaida stronghold.  Earlier reports had put the death toll at five.  Thirteen people were wounded.

What's at Stake?

  • Voters choose members of the National Assembly, or lower house parliament
  • 342 seats, 60 are reserved for women, 10 are reserved for religious minorities
  • Seats are distributed by region:
    Federally Administered Tribal Area -  12 seats
    Federal Capital, Islamabad - 2 seats
    Punjab Province - 183 seats
    Sindh Province - 75 seats
    Khyber Pakhtunkhaw Province -  43 seats
    Baluchistan Province - 17 seats

  • Voters also electing members of four provincial assemblies
A blast in the southwestern part of the country wounded five more people outside an office being used by the Pakistan People's Party.

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombings, but the Taliban have carried out numerous attacks to undermine the polls and say they have dispatched suicide bombers for the national election.   More than 100 people have been killed and scores wounded since late April.

Pakistan's military says it is deploying thousands of troops to polling stations and counting centers.  

Main Political Parties Fielding Candidates
  • Pakistan Peoples Party or PPP
  • Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz or PML-N
  • Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-i-Azam) or PML-Q
  • Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf or PTI

Regional and Ethnic Parties
  • Muttahida Quami Movement or MQM
  • Awami National Party or ANP
  • Baluchistan National Party (Mengal)
  • National Party

Religious Political Parties
  •  Jamaat-i-Islami (JI)
  • Jamiat Ulema Islam (Fazlur Rehman) or JUI-F.
The recent bombings of two rallies of a leading Islamic party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, strengthened views the Taliban is opposed to democracy and is targeting anyone taking part in the elections.

On Thursday, the last day of campaigning, militants kidnapped Ali Haider Gilani in Punjab province.   The son of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is running for a provincial assembly seat in the district

Analysts expect Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to be the likely winner in the historic parliament elections Saturday, marking the first time in the country's history that a civilian government has finished its term and will hand over power to another.   

Pakistani politician and former cricketer Imran Khan had a dramatic fall at a political rally Tuesday in Lahore.  However, he made a televised plea from his hospital bed Thursday for people to vote for his PTI party in the May 11 elections.

  • Paramilitary soldiers stand guard along a road outside of the district city court in Karachi, Pakistan, May 10, 2013.
  • Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addresses his supporters during an election campaign rally, in Lahore, Pakistan, May 9, 2013.
  • Supporters of Pakistan's People's party chant slogans during a rally in Karachi, Pakistan, May 9, 2013.
  • A vendor talks to a customer as others chat at a stall next to posters of various candidates for the upcoming election pasted on a wall in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, May 8, 2013.
  • Supporters of Pakistan Muslim League, headed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose election symbol is a lion, rally in Islamabad, May 8, 2013.
  • Supporters of Tehreek-e-Insaf, headed by Pakistan's cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan, sit in a make-shift election office in the Jalozai camp in Peshawar, Pakistan, May 8, 2013.
  • Christian supporters of Imran Khan, Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician and chairman of political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, hold placards as they light candles next to a portrait of Khan in Lahore, Pakistan, May 8, 2013.
  • Election workers prepare ballot boxes at an election commission office in Quetta, Pakistan, May 8, 2013.
  • Officials from the Election Commission of Pakistan prepare sacks of stationery materials, before they are transported to polling offices, in the premises of the district city court in Karachi, May 8, 2013.
  • Supporters of Pakistan's religious political party Jamaat-e-Islami hang campaign banners in the Jalozai camp in Peshawar, Pakistan, May 8, 2013.
  • A rickshaw is decorated with campaign posters for candidates in the upcoming election in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, May 8, 2013.

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