At least 13 killed in shootings at polling stations in Pakistan

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

According to Online, 13 people were killed and over a hundred injured in armed clashes between rival political factions in Pakistan on Thursday August 18, 2005 local time. The attacks centered around polling stations throughout the country where elections for local offices were taking place.

The first of the clashes occurred in the Bannu district in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province. There three people directly participating in the armed clashes were shot dead. Their political ties are unclear. Many others were injured in the incident.

Two were killed in a clash in Khiali in the Punjabi district of Gujranwala and more than fifteen were injured. One was killed in the Multan district where another 15 were injured.

Three people were injured due to sporadic shooting in the Sialkot district in Punjab.

Seventeen were injured in the district of Lodhran in Punjab, including a candidate for the position of nazim. There, four people were arrested.

In the southern Balochistan district of Jafarabad, a scuffle occurred and at least nineteen people were injured, according to a BBC reporter.

In Dera Allah Yar in Pakistan's Jaffrabad district, members of the Jamali and Imrani ethnic groups exchanged fire two hours after polling began. Both groups used automatic weapons, and one person was killed at the scene of the clash. Two others died later while receiving medial care. Nineteen others were injured, three of whom are reported to be in critical condition.

Army personnel were called to maintain peace in ten of the Punjab's 17 districts. In total, 40 of Pakistan's 53 districts received army assistance in an attempt to keep the peace. Security was heightened in many areas of the country.

Pakistan has many sources of conflict, ranging from supporters of Al-Queda and the former Afghanistan Taliban government, to those involved in terrorist activities against India over disputed borders, to tensions between the numerous political, ethnic, tribal, and religious factions.