The election day death toll has risen to 17 as gunfights and blasts erupt across Pakistan. In the worst incident a bomb ripped through the Awami National Party (ANP) offices in Karachi, killing 11 and wounding 35.
The explosion occurred as Pakistanis went to vote in a landmark election, with the prospect of the first transition from one civilian government to another after years of military rule.
The ANP is just one of three secular parties targeted by Taliban militants in the run-up to the election.
One witness told of the chaos which followed the explosion:
“As soon as the ANP’s candidate Aman Masood was far from me and my brother, the blast suddenly went off. When I rushed to the scene, I saw bodies lying all over the ground, some without limbs, another without a head. I carried the injured to the hospital. I don’t know what happened. My brother is still in the hospital.”
Under the threat of Taliban violence, it is unclear how many people stayed home in Pakistan’s commercial capital instead of risking their lives to vote. Observers fear the impact on the fairness of the vote. The Pakistan Election Commission had declared the elections flawed in Karachi. The polls in the city were extended by three hours to deal with the difficulties.