From the news desk

Pakistan elections underway

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Millions of Pakistanis are flocking to polling stations to vote in the country’s parliamentary elections that have been marred by violence, including targeting of candidates.

At least 29 people were killed in a suicide attack on Wednesday in western city of Quetta near a polling station.

People began voting on Wednesday at 8am local time (03:00GMT) to send 272 representatives to the National Assembly. Polls will close at 6pm (13:00GMT).

Up to 800,000 police and military forces have been deployed across 85,000 polling stations in elections that will see the second civilian-to-civilian handover of power in the country’s history.

Here are all the latest updates:
Blast in Quetta
At least 29 people, including two policemen, have been killed and more than 40 wounded after a bomb explosion near a polling station hit a police van in the southwestern city of Quetta.

Waseem Baig, spokesperson for the Quetta civil hospital, confirmed the death toll to Al Jazeera from the blast in the eastern bypass area of Quetta.

“There was already a high threat alert,” said Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from the capital, Islamabad. “Importantly, what we are told at this point is that the suicide bomber was a motorcyclist.”

PTI chairman Imran Khan condemned the suicide attack on Twitter and urged voters to “defeat the terrorists’ design by coming out in strength to cast their votes”.

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also issued a similar statement, calling the blast an attack on democracy.

[source: Al Jazeera]
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