Published: Thu, July 26, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

31 people dead after Pakistan polling station explosion

31 people dead after Pakistan polling station explosion

Khan's party has ruled the province for the last five years.

Mr Khan's camp was increasingly confident, but it still appeared likely to fall short of a clear majority in the National Assembly.

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan is set to emerge victorious from Pakistan's general elections, as unofficial early results on Wednesday night indicated he had taken the lead in a political contest marred by allegations of rigging by the main political parties.

The PPP also complained that its polling agents were asked to leave during the vote count in a number of voting centers.

Results are expected by Thursday morning and, at the time of writing, Khan's Pakistan Movement for Justice party is in the lead with 84 National Assembly seats out of 272, followed by Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League with 52.

"I voted for PML-N because of Nawaz Sharif's struggle for the rule of constitution and supremacy of the parliament", said Punjab voter Muhamad Waseem Shahzad, 41, a farmer.

Sharif's party has accused the powerful military for weeks of attempting to throw the election to opposition figure Imran Khan.

The US said it is "closely" monitoring the situation in Pakistan which goes to polls today, emphasising that it supports free, fair, transparent and accountable elections in the country.

TV reports showed election workers sorting through massive piles of paper ballots at polling stations across the country.

Speaking to RT, local journalist Javed Rana said that Imran Khan's party is likely to win, but will probably have to form a coalition with some smaller parties.

Voting day was marred by a suicide blast that killed almost 30 people near a polling centre in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province.

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Before he joined the presidential staff he had the role of head of security during Mr Macron's election campaign in 2017. Alexandre Benalla, French presidential aide, is seen during the May Day labour union rally in Paris on May 1, 2018.

TRT World's Shoaib Hassan reports from Islamabad. The senior police official escaped unhurt, Geo News reported. Islamic State claimed responsibility.

But Yaqoob said the vote-counting system, which he said was untested, had "crashed", adding: "There is definitely no conspiracy, no one wants to influence the results".

The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) of Bilawal Bhutto was third. Stay with us for Live updates on counting of votes of Pakistan National Assembly and Provincial Assembly Elections 2018.

Khan, 65, campaigned on populist promises to build a "New Pakistan" and vowed to eradicate corruption, clean up the environment and construct an "Islamic welfare" state.

The PML-N had sought to cast the election as a referendum on democracy, and has said it was campaigning to protect the "sanctity of the vote", a reference to a history of political interference by the military.

A public holiday was declared across the country today in order to facilitate the voting process. Election commission secretary Babar Yaqub told reporters there were also threats against polling stations, staff and even candidates.

Elsewhere, anger with the alleged conspiracy to unseat the PML-N was apparent among some voters.

He said the media was also stopped from covering the elections.

Khan has banked on gains in the PML-N stronghold of Punjab, Pakistan's most-populous province that has 141 elected seats, for his path to victory, successfully courting many so-called "electables" - entrenched local power brokers who often hold sway over about a quarter of Punjab's seats.

"Now the army, the intelligence agencies and the judiciary are taking sides", said PML-N voter Tariq Ateeq Sheikh, 50, a property dealer in Lahore's Walton neighbourhood.

PPP leaders recently have joined PML-N in decrying "pre-poll rigging" involving restricted campaigning, quashed media coverage and candidates intimidated by military officers to change allegiance to Khan.

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