Pakistan election 2018: Dozens dead as polls open

More than two dozen people have been killed in a suicide bombing outside a polling booth in Pakistan.

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing that took place just as the country was gearing up to elect a new prime minister. This is only the second time in Pakistan’s history that power is being transferred from one civilian government to another.

Nearly 106 million people are registered to vote on July 25. The election campaign has been marred by a series of attacks on candidates and accusation of manipulation by Pakistan’s military.

On Monday, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam, who was arrested on July 13 along with her father as soon as they landed in Lahore from London, criticized the country’s military, telling BBC Urdu: “When a prime minister refuses to put down his head and do their [the military’s] bidding, they pull him down with four things; get a religious fatwa issued against him, call him a traitor, call him a friend of India, or call him corrupt. They use these things against every elected prime minister.”

Nawaz Sharif and Maryam were found guilty in a corruption case related to the ownership of luxury flats in London.

On Monday, Sharif sent a message to the masses from Adiala prison urging them to vote for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in July 25 polls.

The audio message of the former premier was shared on Maryam’s Twitter handle.

“I, Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, is speaking from the prison and the historic day of July 25 is just around the corner,” he said. “I am witnessing your passion while being incarcerated in the jail, and listening to ‘respect the vote’ chants everywhere.”

“I want to tell you that the time has come to give a final push to the already tumbling wall of flaws that have been destined on us for years,” he said.