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Pakistanis Vote for Local Councils

Pakistanis in large numbers have voted in local elections viewed as a test of President Pervez Musharraf's commitment to fight Islamic extremism and restore democracy in the country.

Thursday's first phase of the staggered elections was largely peaceful with some exceptions. Police reported sporadic violence that left three people dead and more than 80 injured.

Authorities imposed tight security in nearly half of the country's more than 100 districts, where voters are to elect more than 6,000 local councils.

A record number of more than 200,000 candidates, including several thousand women, are seeking council seats.

Political parties are not allowed to take part in the elections, but their factions are openly supporting candidates.

Voting in the remaining districts of Pakistan is set for next week.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.