Bomb kills 11 in Karachi as Pakistan votes

AFP , Saturday 11 May 2013

A bomb blast targeting an election candidate kills 11 people and wounded 36 others in Pakistan's commercial hub of Karachi as historic elections got underway on Saturday

A Taliban bomb attack targeting an election candidate killed at least 11 people and wounded 36 others in Pakistan's financial hub of Karachi as polls got under way Saturday, a doctor said.

The bomb targeted a candidate seeking election to the Sindh provincial assembly for the Awami National Party (ANP), the main secular party for ethnic Pashtuns, police said.

An AFP photographer saw the 11 bodies in the morgue of Jinnah Hospital after the attack.

The target, Amanullah Mehsud, escaped unhurt, senior police official Mazhar 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 attacks that have killed at least 130 people since mid-April, according to an AFP toll.

Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility.

"We proudly claim responsibility for this attack, we carried it out and will carry out more of the same," Ehsan said of the first deadly attack on polling day.

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.

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