At least 35 people were killed, including 31 in a suicide bomb attack and 67 others injured in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Quetta on a day when the country is voting to elect a new parliament. The voting was disrupted after the blast happened near the polling station. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, reported Reuters.
The blast took place near Quetta’s Eastern Bypass when the police van was targeted in the attack. The blast was part of a larger pattern of attacking security forces’ vehicles and not targeting the electoral process, the Express Tribune reported.
Television images showed a charred police vehicle, cordoned off by security officials. The dead include police officials are civilians. Investigations are underway and an emergency has been declared at Civil Hospital where injured are being treated, Dawn reported.
In a separate incident, supporters of two rival parties exchanged fire outside a polling station in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Swabi district, killing a worker of former cricketer Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and injuring two others, police said.
In the run-up to the elections, the country also witnessed a series of deadly attacks targeting candidates and campaign rallies, including one that killed 151 people in Balochistan province.
Voting is underway in more than 85,000 polling stations. Nearly 106 million people are registered to vote in the elections. The contest in Pakistan has largely boiled down to a tight race between former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).