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Son of Former Pakistani Prime Minister Kidnapped Days before Vote

Gunmen have kidnapped the son of a former Pakistani prime minister on the final day of what has been a tumultuous campaign for a landmark election.

The attackers seized Ali Haider Gilani in a hail of gunfire on the outskirts of Multan in Punjab province Thursday. The 27-year-old son of Yousuf Raza Gilani is running for a provincial assembly seat in the district. His father was not present at the event.

Speaking to reporters at his home in Multan, the elder Gilani said two of his son's guards died shielding him, but he did not know whether his son was wounded.

He urged all of his party's supporters to remain peaceful and participate in the vote.

While the Taliban has not claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, the group has targeted Gilani's Pakistan People's Party, as well as other secular and religious parties, throughout the campaign leading up to Saturday's election. Militants have killed more than 100 people and wounded scores more since April.

The Taliban announced Thursday that it has dispatched suicide bombers to mount attacks during election day, which is the first handover from one civilian government to another in Pakistan'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.

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 televised plea from his hospital bed Thursday for people to vote for his PTI party in the May 11th elections.

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