Pakistanis Vote as Violence Claims 22 Lives

Posted at: 05/11/2013 10:25 AM
Updated at: 05/11/2013 10:26 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.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)