Saturday, May 11, 2013

Pakistan holds landmark election as 24 killed in attacks

Militants detonate more explosives outside polling stations, party offices

Lahore votes
Pakistanis streamed to the polls Saturday, despite a string of attacks that killed 24 people, for a historic vote pitting a former cricket star against a two-time prime minister and an unpopular incumbent.

The violence, which included blasts outside a political office in Karachi that left 10 dead, capped a bloody election season. More than 130 people have been killed in bombings and shootings over the campaign, prompting some to call this one of the deadliest votes in the country's history.

Despite the bloodshed, many see the election as a key step to solidify civilian rule in a country that has experienced three military coups. It marks the first time in Pakistan's 65-year history that a civilian government has completed its full term and handed over power in democratic voting. Previous governments have been toppled by military coups or sacked by presidents allied with the powerful army.

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