Suicide blast kills 31 as Pakistan holds general elections

A suicide bomber strikes outside a crowded polling station in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta, killing 31 people as Pakistanis cast ballots in a general election meant to lead to the nation’s third consecutive civilian government.

Polls have closed across Pakistan in the national election of a third straight civilian government in the Islamic nation.

The voting ended after a suicide bombing outside a polling station in the southwest, in which 31 people were killed. However, the balloting for a National Assembly, lower house of parliament and four provincial assemblies was largely peaceful elsewhere.

Pakistan’s military, at the request of the country’s elections oversight body, deployed over 370,000 security forces at polling stations.

A suicide bomber on a motorcycle rammed into people waiting outside a polling station in the city of Quetta, killing 31 people after the polls there opened. The attack underscored difficulties Pakistan faces on its wobbly journey toward sustained democracy.