32 killed as Pakistan votes to elect new government

Imran Khan wants to create a 'New Pakistan,' many fear more of the same

People are voting in a tense environment as at least 34 people were killed in a suicide blast and poll-related violence.

Local police officials said the suicide bomber tried to target a high-ranking military officer who was part of a delegation visiting the polling station, but due to tight security, he detonated at the gate.

A hospital spokesman said 29 people were killed and 35 others wounded in the attack that a Reuters witness said occurred near a voting centre in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province.

In the southern city of Karachi, a sprawling metropolis of more than 18 million, voters came out in droves.

Millions of voters will choose between candidates including cricket legend Imran Khan who leads the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) spearheaded by Shehbab Shariff.

Results for the 11th general elections are expected to trickle in immediately after the polling ends with the final outcome likely by Thursday morning or afternoon, according to election officials.

Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League, or PML-N, won in 2013, but he fell out with the military after questioning its links to some militant groups and seeking to make it subservient to parliament.

Qasim said Khan violated Pakistan's constitution, which guarantees the secrecy of the ballot.

The vote Imran Khan cast today in NA-53, a constituency in Islamabad, may be cancelled, Pakistani media reports said.

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Amid the ongoing elections in Pakistan, a blast has been reported in Quetta's Eastern Bypass.

Numerous observers have also reported that many polling stations were clustered together, but too small to cater to the number of voters.

At the request of the election commission, Pakistan's military deployed 350,000 troops countrywide at polling stations.

Another concern is the unprecedented participation in these elections of radical religious groups, including those banned for terror links but resurrected and renamed, has also raised concerns - especially for minorities and women - ahead of the voting.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack that took place as thousands head to the poll to elect Pakistan's next leader.

The results of the 44 of the 415 polling stations show that Hamza Shehbaz Sharif is leading with 13,692 votes while PTI's Nauman Kaiser is trailing behind with 7,519 votes. Quetta is capital of the restive province of Balochistan, where 149 people were killed by Islamic State at the start of the election campaign in... "In the past, our votes were cast [on our behalf]".

The election will be only the second civilian transfer of power in Pakistan's 71-year history.

A hard-line Pakistani cleric who heads an alliance of religious parties and the country's parliament speaker have cast their ballots in the general elections underway in Pakistan.

PML-N's campaign was reinvigorated by the return to Pakistan of Nawaz Sharif, 68, who was earlier this month convicted and sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison over the purchase of upscale London apartments using offshore companies in the mid 1990s. Candidates from the party claim they've been targeted by the military.

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