By Agence France-Presse
At least 30 people were killed and dozens more wounded in a suicide attack on a polling station in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, officials said, as millions voted in a nationwide election Wednesday.
“(The bomber) was trying to enter the polling station. When police tried to stop him he blew himself up,” a local administration official in Quetta, Hashim Ghilzai, told AFP.
Dr. Wasim Baig, spokesman for the Sandeman Provincial Hospital in Quetta, said the death toll had risen to 30 after two people succumbed to their injuries. Earlier, officials had said 28 people were killed and more than 30 injured.
The attack was not immediately claimed by any group.
Balochistan, Pakistan’s poorest and most restive province, suffers from Islamist and separatist insurgencies.
It suffered the brunt of a series of attacks that killed more than 180 people across Pakistan during the brief but acrimonious election campaign, including a devastating blast claimed by the Islamic State group which killed 153 people this month, and was Pakistan’s deadliest ever suicide attack.
The blast, which struck a crowd at a political rally, also killed local politician Siraj Raisani. He was one of three election candidates killed by militant attacks in Pakistan during the election campaign.
An earlier attack in Balochistan on Wednesday left one policeman dead and three wounded when a hand grenade was thrown at a polling station in the village of Koshk, in Khuzdar district.
The military has stationed over 370,000 personnel across Pakistan to ensure security for the election, bolstered by an additional 450,000 police.
The contest has largely become a two-way race between Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and the incumbent Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, whose brother Shahbaz is leading its campaign.