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Bomb attack in Karachi wounds 12 as voting begins

11 may 2013, 14:35
A bomb blast targeting an election candidate wounded at least 12 people in Pakistan's commercial hub of Karachi as historic elections got underway on Saturday, police told AFP.

"At least 12 people have been wounded. The target was an election candidate of ANP (Awami National Party). He was travelling in his car when the bomb exploded," senior police official Mazhar Nawaz told AFP.

The target of the attack, Amanullah Mehsud, escaped unhurt, Nawaz said. Another police official, Tahir Naveed, confirmed the attack.

The election marks the first democratic transition of power in the nuclear-armed state but the run-up to the polls has been marred by Taliban attacks that have killed more than 120 people.

"To revolt against this system, the TTP have planned several actions on May 11, so we appeal to the people to stay away from polling stations to save their lives," Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said.

More than 600,000 security personnel are being deployed nationwide and around half the estimated 70,000 polling stations have been declared at risk of attack, many of them in insurgency-torn parts of Baluchistan province and the northwest.

A senior PPP official said party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari -- the son of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto -- would not vote because of threats to his life.

On Friday, a candidate for the provincial assembly in Sindh was shot dead along with two supporters in Karachi.

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