Pakistanis vote amid violence that claims 22 lives


Associated Press

Posted on May 11, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Updated Saturday, May 11 at 11:34 AM

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Voters in Pakistan have been streaming to the polls today despite militant attacks that have now claimed 22 lives.

The violence continues what has been a bloody election season, with more than 130 people killed in bombings and shootings.

Today's vote pits an unpopular incumbent against a two-time prime minister and a former cricket star.

Despite the violence, the election is seen by many as a key step toward solidifying civilian rule in Pakistan, which has seen three military coups. This is the country's first transition between one elected government fulfilling its term and another elected government.

The government deployed an estimated 600,000 security personnel across the country, amid threats from the Pakistani Taliban to target political parties.

One man waiting to vote in the northwestern city of Peshawar -- where one of today's blasts took place -- said he wasn't going to let the threats keep him at home. He said Pakistanis can either sit in their homes and let the terrorism continue, or they can vote for a government that can bring an end to the terrorism.

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140-a-12-(Faiqa Haroon (FEYE'-kuh huh-ROON'), female voter, in AP interview)-"path of development"-Voter Faiqa Haroon says it's important for voters to cast ballots despite the danger of militant attacks. (11 May 2013)

<<CUT *140 (05/11/13)>> 00:12 "path of development"

APPHOTO XMM126: Pakistani women line up outside a polling station waiting to cast their ballots in Hyderabad, Pakistan, Saturday, May 11, 2013. Defying the danger of militant attacks, Pakistanis streamed to the polls Saturday for a historic vote pitting a former cricket star against a two-time prime minister and an unpopular incumbent. But attacks that killed and wounded dozens of people underlined the risks many people took just casting their ballots. (AP Photo/Pervez Masih) (11 May 2013)

<<APPHOTO XMM126 (05/11/13)>>