Pakistan Election Shadowed by Violence, 5 Killed

The Media Line Staff

Pakistan’s general election was shadowed by violence on Thursday, resulting in at least five deaths across the country, as authorities implemented stringent security measures, including the suspension of mobile phone services and temporary closure of land borders. The Interior Ministry took these steps in response to Islamic State-claimed attacks in Balochistan, which killed 26 people near electoral candidates’ offices on Wednesday.

Security forces were heavily deployed, and borders with Iran and Afghanistan were closed to maintain order as the country faced a pivotal vote amidst a severe economic crisis and a highly polarized political climate. In Dera Ismail Khan district, a bomb blast and subsequent shooting killed four policemen, while a separate attack in Tank left one person dead. Despite grenade attacks in Balochistan, voting continued without casualties.

Despite security concerns and cold weather, voters formed long queues early, highlighting the election’s significance amid fears no clear winner would emerge. Unofficial results are anticipated shortly after voting concludes, with a clearer picture expected by Friday. The suspension of mobile networks drew criticism from opposition leaders, including Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of the Pakistan Peoples Party, who demanded the restoration of services. The measure, aimed at ensuring security, also faced backlash from voters struggling to locate polling stations, illustrating the tension between security measures and electoral participation.

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