As it happened: Pakistan's vote

Key Points

  • Pakistanis have voted in landmark election set to mark the first transfer of power between two elected civilian governments in its history
  • Reports of irregularities in Karachi prompted the election commission to say the vote was not "free and fair" in the city and voting was extended there
  • There was sporadic violence around the country with at least 11 killed in a blast in the southern city of Karachi
  • The campaign was overshadowed by unprecedented levels of violence with more than 130 killed in recent weeks
  • Voting was for a new national assembly and four provincial assemblies, which will in turn choose a new prime minister and provincial chiefs
  • All times GMT

    Welcome to the BBC's live coverage of events in Pakistan where polls have just opened in landmark elections.


    Stay with us for the latest updates - reports from our correspondents on the ground, expert analysis, and your reaction from around the world. You can contact us via email, text or twitter. We'll publish what we can.


    These polls will mark the first time an elected government has finished its term and handed over to a democratically elected successor in Pakistan's 66-year history.


    From the the Imran Khan factor to 36 million new voters added to the electoral register, it promises to be unlike any other election in Pakistan's history. The BBC's Owen Bennett Jones outlines in this piece exactly why.


    And for those unfamiliar with the complex political web and rivalries of Pakistan here's a 90-second video introduction to what's at stake.


    The BBC's Iram Abbasi in Islamabad reports that Pakistan has sealed its borders with Iran and Afghanistan. An official said this was to prevent any infiltration, adding that full security would be provided for voters. The borders will remain closed for the next three days.

    0321: BBC Urdu Pakistan editor @TheHaroonRashid

    tweeted about the atmosphere on the streets as the country prepared to vote: Islamabad roads mostly deserted a couple of minutes before polls begin.

    0322: Adnan Niazi from Peshawar

    emails: Today we vote or die trying. I would rather die today while going to a polling station than die every day for the next five years under a corrupt government. My vote is for justice and peace; my vote is for Imran Khan PTI.


    This poll campaign also looks to have been the most violent in the country's history. More than 100 people have been killed in militant attacks on the campaign trail.


    Three parties have been singled out for attacks by the Taliban: The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) along with the Karachi-based Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP).


    This has meant Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Imran Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) were able to campaign more freely - they were not specifically targeted by militants.


    Officials insist that these will be the cleanest elections in the country's history pointing to a refreshed electoral register (they removed 37 milllion fake votes) and the introduction of biometrics. The BBCs' M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad explains exactly what is new.

    Maleeha Lodhi

    tweets: I was the first to cast my vote at a polling station at a girls college in Islamabad. The polling staff looked efficient and in control


    Former cricket star Imran Khan is seen by many as a potential kingmaker in this election and analysts are watching to see if he can convert his popularity and the turnout at his rallies into votes. The BBC's Orla Guerin joined him on the campaign trail - before the fall at a rally that left him in hospital.


    The New York Times has said in an editorial that Pakistan's decision to order its bureau chief Declan Walsh out of the country on the eve of the election was "unjustified and should be reversed". It says without such people reporting the news, Pakistanis will not know about election violence or abductions, but that "maybe that is the point".


    Can Nawaz Sharif score a hat-trick? He is hoping to make history by becoming prime minister of Pakistan for the third time. His PML-N party have been touted as frontrunners during the campaign. The BBC's M Ilyas Khan joined him on the campaign trail.

    Pakistani election staff wait for transport after collecting polling material from an election office in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Friday, May 10, Election staff have long been preparing for this day and hopes of a record turnout are high
    0351: Salman Raza, a Pakistani living in Abu Dhabi

    emails: I bought a ticket months ago to fly to Faisalabad from Abu Dhabi to cast my vote but the election has been postponed due to the death of a candidate. I'm so disappointed as I can't vote for Imran Khan.


    The BBC's Abdullah Abuhilaheh cites EU observers who say that polling in Lahore is going smoothly


    What are the issues that really matter to voters? The BBC's Shahzeb Jillani heard from three voters in Karachi about the lawlessness and insecurity blighting daily life.

    Shahzeb Jillani BBC News

    at a polling station in Karachi posts a picture and tweets: We are almost ready now: polling staff

    Women at polling station in Karachi

    The incumbent Pakistan People's Party has its heartland in rural Sindh province. While some analysts have pointed to disenchantment, they can take the credit for being the first civilian government to complete a full five-year term in office. - a political milestone.

    0411: Saba Etizaz BBC Urdu, Peshawar

    There are long queues of women at polling stations. Women from this conservative society say they are voting for the first time in their lives and are excited about being part of a historic change.


    These polls will be historic also for voters in Pakistan's volatile tribal areas, along the border with Afghanistan. It it will be the first time that they will be voting for political parties instead of independent candidates as was the case in the past.

    0417: Journalist Saba Imtiaz in Karachi

    tweets: Epic line at polling station in my apolitical neighborhood


    Saba Imtiaz also has more detail about confusion at the polls in Karachi tweeting: Actually real ECP fail. Massive delays in getting ballot boxes. One hour in and some block codes don't have any material.


    But the logistics are immense: out of a population of 180 million, Pakistan has 86,189,802 registered voters (48,592,387 male and 37,597,415 female). Punjab province has the highest number of registered voters.


    For everything you could possibly want to know about these polls you can consult the BBC's Q&A .


    Our colleagues at BBC Urdu are also running a live page in Urdu.

    At a polling station in Islamabad Outside a polling station in Islamabad

    The BBC's South Asia Bureau Editor Alan Quartly has just sent this picture of the scene outside a polling station on the outskirts of Islamabad. He says: 4200 registered to vote in this school building today. Separate voting for men and women.


    The BBC's Shahzad Malik in Islamabad reports that army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has already cast his vote within the Rawalpindi cantonment area.

    0437: Shahzeb Jillani BBC News. Karachi
    Voters at the polling station in Karachi

    tweets: Disabled and elderly are the first ones being allowed in #Karachi polling


    The BBC's Almeena Ahmed in Karachi says people are waiting patiently in queue and the day is getting hotter. She adds that many are very angry at disorganisation and there are lots of elderly and disabled waiting in the heat.

    Peopel waiting in Karachi heat

    Who are the politicians and parties to watch in Pakistan's elections? This is the BBC's essential guide.


    Quite apart from the militant violence this has been an eventful campaign. In the last few days alone of campaigning Imran Khan fell at a rally injuring his back and head - he is recovering in hospital. And on the final day the son of former PM Yousuf Raza Gilani was kidnapped by gunmen.


    Earlier headlines were taken up by the storm around former military ruler Pervez Musharraf who returned from self-imposed exile to run in the election. He is now under house arrest over several criminal cases. Many believe his return was a serious miscalculation.

    Dr Samad Baseer from Peshawar

    emails: There's an excited party atmosphere here. A lot of people have come in from the villages and there are long queues at the polling stations. The Taliban threat has not put them off. Imran Khan has managed to get more young people interested in politics. Before it used to be just a select group of older people who voted but now young people are coming out to vote too.

    Journalist for Pakistan's Express Tribune Iftikhar Firdous

    tweets: Polling for #IDP's of South Waziristan begins in Gomal University DI.Khan, massive security apparatus in place,huge turnout #Electionday1013

    BBC producer Kate Benyon @katebt3000
    Queue for Islamabad polling centre

    tweets: Small-ish queue outside this polling centre on outskirts of Islamabad


    One of the many unusual aspects of this campaign was that Christians have formed an unlikely alliance with Islamists in Lahore. The BBC's Ahmed Wali Mujeeb went there to find out why so many of them were campaigning for the JUI-F.

    0503: Shahzeb Jillani BBC News. Karachi

    There is a lot of enthusiasm and frustration about the election process. Election staff have arrived late and some polling material did not come on time. But the elderly were carried inside on wheelchairs and overall people are determined that they will vote.


    There are reports of a blast in Karachi with some casualties. This is thought to be the first election-related violence since polls opened a few hours ago.


    The Taliban have vowed to target this election. Most of their attacks have been directed against parties perceived as secular.

    0517: Breaking News

    There have been several casualties reported in a bomb blast targeting an Awami National Party (ANP) candidate in Karachi's Landhi neighbourhood. The ANP is one of the parties the Taliban vowed to attack in this election.


    Despite this latest violence, reports from all around Karachi talk of long queues and a determination to vote


    More than 600,000 security personnel have been deployed and around half the estimated 70,000 polling stations have been declared at risk of attack, many of them in insurgency-torn parts of Balochistan province and the north-west. the AFP news agency reports.

    0528: Film-maker Sharmeen Obaid

    tweets: Please be patient at polling booths- there are long lines & in some places it's chaotic! No one said democracy was easy! #pakvotes


    With power cuts, a faltering economy and fears over persistent insecurity and lawlessness, people have been urging Pakistanis to make this a high-turnout election.

    Islamabad queues Long queues have also formed in the capital, Islamabad

    At least three are now reported to have been killed in that blast in Karachi. "We have received three dead bodies and 21 injured people," one doctor at a local hospital told the AFP news agency.

    0549: Lyse Doucet Chief international correspondent, Islamabad

    tweets: Voting is a family affair. 3 generations arrive at polling station #pakvotes #pakistan

    Voting is a family affair
    0551: Shumaila Jaffrey BBC Urdu, Lahore

    Polling is picking up now, in urban areas people start a bit late and at the moment it is going smoothly. A large number of women are also coming out to vote.


    There are also many female candidates standing in these elections. The UK's Guardian newspaper has this article about them. And the BBC has this profile of Badam Zari the first female candidate from the tribal regions.


    There are unconfirmed media reports of further blasts in Peshawar in the north-west and in Quetta in the south-west.

    0603: Shahzeb Jillani BBC News. Karachi

    I saw one girl who basically fainted because it is so hot over here but people are very eager to vote.


    Reports on social media from all over the southern metropolis of Karachi talk of irregularities, ballot boxes that haven't turned up yet and staff arriving late at stations.

    Abdul Moeed

    tweets: Spent three hours at the polling station in Model Town, everyone is for PTI. Can I dare to dream ? #NayaPakistan #PakVotes


    Landhi in Karachi, where this deadly blast took place, is known for Taliban activity. For those unfamiliar, Karachi is Pakistan's biggest city, its commercial hub and riven with violence that is political, ethnic and sectarian. But in recent years the Taliban have been insinuating themselves in to the city. In this piece the BBC's Ahmed Wali Mujeeb describes how the Taliban gripped Karachi.

    BBC producer, Kate Benyon-Tinker,

    tweets: More women than man queuing at polling station #Islamabad #pakvotes

    Women wait in line to vote
    Khalid Khan

    tweets: Karachi NA-250 and PS-112, 113 worst affected , polling yet to start #PakVotes

    0621: Haroon Rashid BBC Urdu editor

    In Balochistan, in the coastal town of Pasni, streets are deserted because of a strike by Baloch nationalists. Polling staff are present in some stations - but voters are missing.


    Pakistan's excluded Ahmadi minority have been not been courted by the main political players. The Guardian looks at their situation in this campaign.

    Yasir Khan

    tweets: Chaotic scenes at our polling station. Two villages were merged in 3 booths. Truly mismanaged #NA3 #PakVotes


    Whoever is finally declared PM will have a daunting task ahead of them. High up on the agenda is bound to be Pakistan's faltering economy, according to this analysis by the BBC' Shahzeb Jillani.

    0627: BBC Producer Kate Benyon-Tinker

    tweets: Elderly disabled man being carried to polling station near #Islamabad #pakvotes

    elderly man
    0629: Breaking News

    At least 10 people are known to have died in the blast targeting an ANP candidate in Karachi. A doctor says that 10 bodies were brought into the Jinnah hospital.


    The candidate for the Sindh provincial assembly targeted on Friday was Amanullah Mahsud and he was at the party office at the time of the explosion. He was wounded but not seriously.


    A recent report by BBC Urdu said that more than 700 ANP activists have been killed by snipers or suicide bombers over the last four years. The ANP are regular targets and the BBC's M Ilyas Khan has looked at the militant violence against parties perceived as secular.


    tweets: Plenty of security around. A little mismanaged, but the turnout is way way higher than the last time around. I know cause I voted. #pakvotes

    0639: Asif Farooqi BBC News, Islamabad

    Large queues outside the Jhang Syedan polling station on the outskirts of Islamabad. There is quite a festive atmosphere. Women are at the polling station, which was crowded. Locals say more people are turning out to viote than in previous elections. There is a heavy police presence, but security does not seem to be a worry for voters here

    Kiran Bashir Ahmad

    tweets: People are leaving now on hearing that timings have been extended till 7pm in #NA250 . I just hope both #ECP and the voters stick to it.


    BBC Urdu editor Haroon Rashid provides some context to the previous tweet. The Karachi-based MQM party has complained about sector NA-250 that ballot boxes have not been made available at some polling stations - even an hour after polling opened.

    Shahzeb Jillani BBC News. Karachi

    tweets: "'I voted for a better Pakistan"

    man who voted
    Journalist, Iftikhar Firdous

    tweets: Explosion took place near a polling station in Takkar village, no loss of life #Mardan. Officials say its to incite fear #Election2013


    BBC Pakistan producer Wietske Burema got this from one man in his 50s at a polling station in Islamabad: "I have always voted for the PPP [ruling party in the last government] but this time I am switching to Imran. He is the only one to give us hope".


    A first-time voter told BBC Pakistan producer Wietske Burema: "I was so excited about voting that I woke up at 0200 this morning"


    They have been in power for five years but few have predicted that the PPP will win these elections. The BBC's Shahzeb Jillani went along to a rare campaign event where assassinated leader Benazir Bhutto still remains at the heart of the party's spirit.


    Many may ask about Benazir Bhutto's son Bilawal? The Daily Telegraph's correspondent Rob Crilly filed this report a few days ago saying that for an election in which Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was meant to emerge as a political force, he has been notable for his absence.

    BBC producer, Tahir Imran Mian

    tweets: Ashram Jan is 100 plus & came on foot to vote. Wow bravo

    Elderly voter in Pakistan
    The BBC's Jatinder Sidhu in Karachi

    tweets: I wonder how many supporters of other parties will be willing to wait for hours in peak summer temperatures. #pakistan

    Abdul Manan in Lahore

    emails: Most people in Pakistan are illiterate and surely these people would vote for wrong party and ideology. That's why Pakistan's future will be again in the hands of politicians who are running family politics.


    A bomb planted near a polling station in a school building near the north-western city of Peshawar has exploded, injuring seven people, officials say. ondition.


    The Peshawar explosion took place on Charsadda Road, about 5 km from the city centre. An army official at the scene told the BBC the bomb was planted on a motorcycle.

    Ahmad in Lahore

    emails: The best thing about these elections is the participation of the youth. I have never seen Pakistani youth so indulged in politics before.


    Much has been made of the enthusiasm of the youth in Pakistan for these elections. Imran Khan appears to be the man who has captured their imagination but he has been in the political game a long time - this BBC article follows his journey from cricketing aristocrat to political player.


    One of the defining factors in this election race will be the patronage networks enjoyed by the major politicians. The New York Times' Declan Walsh - who has just been ordered to leave Pakistan - has this piece on this traditional bedrock of Pakistani politics.


    Women were stopped from voting in in the volatile tribal district of North Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold, residents said, according to the AFP news agency. But the Dawn newspaper reported that in South Waziristan women were allowed to cast their votes in the area dominated by the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe as long as proper purdah arrangements were made.

    Reporter, Mohammad Malick

    tweets: Long Qs have defeated Taliban and their ilk by defeating fear and turning out in droves. Proud to be a Pakistani


    The story so far: Polling has been been open for four-and-a-half hours. There has been some violence - Karachi saw the worst of it with 10 dead in one blast. And some irregularities reported in the city. But there are long queues in the searing heat. People appear determined to vote.

    0741: Haroon Rashid BBC Urdu editor

    There are reports of firing between two groups at polling in Chaman town, which lies on the border with Afghanistan. One person is reported to have been killed and three injured, including a security officer.

    Journalist, Shaista Aziz

    tweets: Phoned my aunt & nan.They've been serving tea & soft drinks to voters in village polling station next to house #Pakistan #Pakistanelections


    Some TV networks and other groups have been calling out for people to send them pictures and reports of violations at polling stations.


    The election in numbers: Some 600,000 people are manning these polls at 70,000 stations. There are also 600,000 security personnel deployed. One constituency seat NA-48 has 51 candidates vying for the seat. To form a government, a party will need 172 seats.

    A woman accompanied by her child, casts her vote in Lahore A woman, accompanied by her child, casts her vote in Lahore

    Marvi Sirmed

    tweets: In the queue since 11 am. Not likely to be able to vote for another 3 hours.


    If elected he will be the first man to serve as Pakistan's prime minister three times. Here is the BBC's profile of Nawaz Sharif.


    Pakistani media reports are saying that the death toll from the violence in the border town of Chaman has risen to three.


    Journalist Omar Waraich for TIME looks at how the old feudal elites have struggled for The pedigrees possessed by the big dynasties do not automatically guarantee them victory.

    0817: BBC Pakistan producer Wietske Burema

    Busy line of women and children wearing lovely colourful clothes - pink and turquoise and yellow - at a polling station in Islamabad. It's a humid day. One young woman offering biscuits and lemonade to the waiting queue. Another - a first time woman voter - says: "We are all really excited. We have for dressed up in our best clothes to be here today. We know it will take some time before we get to the voting box, but it's worth it. Up to now I haven't seen the point in voting, but today is different."

    Khurram Afzal Malik in Lahore

    texts: Being a Pakistani Ahmadi, I went to caste my vote but was shocked not to find me and my family's names in the main list with every other Pakistani. I'm not able to caste my vote but I still wish best of luck to Pakistan and work for its prosperity.

    0829: Orla Guerin BBC News, Islamabad

    At a bustling polling station in Islamabad change is the mantra. One lady of 71 tells us this is the most important election she has witnessed. Like many others she says she is voting for Imran Khan. Another Khan supporter - a young man - told us he was so eager to vote he rushed our without breakfast. Another said he couldn' t sleep. In this neighbourhood there is election fever.

    Munir Akhtar in Rahim Yar Khan District, Punjab
    Voting in Punjab

    emails: Voting is very slow. The turn-out is larger than ever but it seems that the process will deprive many people from casting their vote because of the lack of time. It is indirect vote-rigging.


    The differences between Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan is the subject of this column by Dawn Newspaper's Cyril Almeida.

    Amna Tariq

    tweets: The polling time for NA-250 has been extended till 08:00 PM, NOW GO OUT AND VOTE! #jaagpk #Pakistan #Karachi

    Atta ur Rehman in Mansehra, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province

    emails: I have visited some polling stations here in Mansehra. The running of the process at all polling stations is smooth. Things here are looking up and I am optimistic about a good turnout which is very crucial for election process.

    Journalist, Omar R Quraishi

    tweets: This election seems different -- almost everyone I know who normally wouldn't venture out to vote, thinking it a waste, are voting today

    Faryal Sarwar in Lahore

    emails: In all honesty I'd been expecting a very rowdy crowd and had mentally geared up for such a situation. But this morning when I went to my allotted polling station to cast my vote I was pleasantly surprised by how organised everything was. People were helpful at every step of the way.


    Pakistan's election commission has said that a 60-80% turnout is expected. In 2008 the turnout was 44%.

    Dr Absar Syed in Karachi

    emails: There have been delays at several polling stations in Karachi. The ballot boxes and and materials were not at the station in time. In some cases the presiding officers have not shown up. In other stations, and this is becoming very common as the day progresses, people have been waiting now for four or five hours in the heat to vote.


    There are a number of complaints of violations of the process in the southern hub of Karachi. In an emergency press conference, the right-wing religious party Jamaat-i-Islami announced it was boycotting the elections because of threats to voters, Dawn newspaper reported.


    If you are curious about all the runners and riders in this race, the BBC has an essential guide.


    Pakistan's election turnout was 30 percent by midday, according to an election commission estimate, AFP reports.

    0930: BBC Pakistan producer Wietske Burema

    tweets: Voting guide with party symbols. A tiger & a cricket bat. a comb, an iron, a coat-hanger. 2help pple who can't read

    election picture
    Waleed Saigol in Lahore:

    tweets: Just voted for the martyrs that made today possible #ppp. My vote is for those who have laid down their lives for democracy and pluralism.

    BBC correspondent, Hugh Sykes
    Voter in Karachi

    tweets: #Pakistan #Election2013 Voting 'booth' at a #Karachi polling station. Not private, but no one complaining.

    Junaid in Karachi

    emails: I was made to wait for five hours dealing with numerous, never-ending issues by people who have been trying to stop us from voting. I am home now because I was told that my papers have not yet arrived. But I am going back to cast my vote!

    Khaleel Ahmed

    emails: Working on a construction boat in the North Sea, I can still feel the excitement of these elections. I have never been so impatient and excited as on occasions such as this. I wish that I was able to cast my vote.

    British MP Sadiq Khan

    tweets: Am in Pakistan as election observer. 84 million registered voters. Let's hope for good/safe turnout #Pakelections2013

    Sadiq Khan MP

    Turnout is going to be the key barometer of the electoral dynamics. Pakistan's Dawn newspaper has this analysis of how crowds at polling stations will be the decider.

    1013: M Ilyas Khan BBC News, Islamabad

    Nearly 50% of voters had polled votes by 1300 local (0800 GMT) at two polling stations in the upscale areas of F-10 and F-11 in Islamabad, known for low voter turnout in the past, polling officials said.


    Laaiyla tweets: Friend back from his polling station in Lyari (NA-249). Said its useless. He even brought his ballot paper with him!

    1020: BBC Pakistan producer Wietske Burema in Islamabad

    A mother and three daughters all dressed in their best clothes are all voting for Imran Khan: "Our whole family supports him", they tell the BBC. "We are only voting because of him. We are voting for a new Pakistan."


    Nawaz Sharif - considered one of the frontrunners - has cast his vote, Dawn newspaper reports.

    1031: M Ilyas Khan BBC News, Islamabad

    In Islamabad, the city was deserted but there were crowds around polling stations. Those streets were literally choked. I could see many young voters and the overwhelming majority of women I spoke to were casting their vote for Imran Khan. But the real battleground for this election will be not be Islamabad but the province of Punjab. Turnout and votes cast there will be key.


    Crowds of women are reported to have cast their vote in Pakistan's tribal Mohmand agency, the Express Tribune newspaper reports. This is said to be for the first time. It cites the presiding officer of the Ekka Ghund polling station confirming the high number of female voters.

    Khayam Hussain in Clifton, Karachi
    People standing in line to vote

    emails: I've been standing in line for two hours now. People of all ages have come out to vote. The queue is painstakingly slow, yet the atmosphere is still alive and buzzing - it's like a festival. People are handing out cookies, juice and water.

    Umer Ghafoor in Lahore

    emails: It's great to see the turn-out at such a high level. I am so pleased to be part of this historical election. I have come from the UK to cast my vote.

    Shahzeb Jillani BBC News. Karachi

    met this couple two hours ago. He tweeted their words: "We have been waiting for hours in this heat to vote; baby now unwell, so leaving. Will be back in the evening."

    Couple in Karachi

    1047: BBC Urdu's Shumaila Jaffrey in Lahore

    paints a different picture in Lahore. She says that turnout is huge with many young and elderly gong to vote. She noticed lots of first-time voters. "In the past candidates used bring voters on their own transport and used to offer them food as an incentive to vote. But this time, I didn't see any such thing. People are coming on their own to vote for 'new pakistan' and 'change'".

    Naushad Shafkat in Karachi

    emails: Holding elections in a country like Pakistan was never going to be an easy job. It is a large country with a staggered democratic history, it is a victim of terrorism and this is the first time that a democratic transition is taking place. The fact that elections are being held is in itself an event to celebrate.

    1050: BBC Pakistan producer Wietske Burema

    One woman PPP supporter in Islamabad: "I feel like a dying breed. Everyone around me wants to vote for Imran Khan. My two sons are Imran fans too, but luckily for me they are too young to vote"

    1058: From BBC Urdu's Shumaila Jaffrey in Lahore:

    Talking to the media after casting his vote, PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif said it is his party that represents change in Pakistan. He said his party had always fulfilled all his promises and would do so again if it comes into power again. He added that he was hopeful of victory.

    BBC Urdu's Asif Farooqi

    says 1000 votes have been polled out of a total of 1800 in a Rawalpindi polling station. Polling staff are anticipating an unprecedented turnout in this constituency from where Imran Khan is contesting.

    1106: Shahzeb Jillani BBC News. Karachi

    The picture in Karachi has turned out to be a little bit more murky. The election process is being questioned with candidates saying it was not transparent and fair. There are still lots of people outside polling stations with some people have waited six hours. Stations are supposed to close in an hour but it looks like polling times will be extended in certain areas.


    The Election Commission of Pakistan has set up a complaints centre for 24 hours aimed at collecting complaints about violations of the code of contact, media reports say. -----


    What are voters looking for in this election? The BBC spoke to several voters around the country to try and get a snapshot of attitudes.

    Maria in Karachi

    emails: I stood waiting from 07:30 to 13:00 in the scorching sun today and finally got my turn to vote. Voting was supposed to begin at 08:00 a.m. but didn't start till after noon at the polling station I voted at. I would have stood waiting all day if necessary. I wasn't going to leave without voting.


    There are tens of thousands of election officials. On social media some are being heavily criticised but others have managed to run a smooth operation on the day. With long queues reports say some polling stations may extend hours. It is unclear whether this is widespread.

    Election officials discuss after a polling station was opened in a village near Lahore May 11, 2013 Election officials in heated discussion in Lahore

    Saleem, a voter from Swabi in north-west Pakistan tweets: My mother & wife just came from casting their votes in Swabi for #Laltain, #ANP, against Taliban #WatanYaKafan #VoteAntiTaliban


    Swabi is a mountainous district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Earlier this year seven charity workers who operated vaccination programmes were gunned down, many suspect by militants opposed to such programmes.

    Naveed Khan in Islamabad

    texts: Just voted for the first time ever. There are so many like me. It's all down to Imran Khan and the PTI for giving us hope. Change is coming. The PTI will prove it's a strong force in Pakistan politics.

    Journalist, Ayesha Tammy Haq

    tweets: Polling station in Phase IV DHA #NA250 not opened yet and it's 4:30pm. This is not an election its a travesty. #Karachi #PakVotes

    Writer Kamila Shamsie

    tweets: Today's big story: Voters who didn't stay at home in fear. The turnout is extraordinary, and very moving. #pollingboothtales #Khi #pakvotes

    1145: BBC Urdu's Saba Etizaz

    Three generations of Pashtun women have come out to vote in Pakistan's historic elections despite the violence. The female vote turnout in Peshawar in the 2008 general elections was almost non-existent.

    1148: BBC Pakistan producer Wietske Burema says:

    A PPP supporter in Islamabad says: "Every party in Pakistan is bad ... But the people's party is a little bit good. It's worked hard for Pakistan."


    Pakistan has extended nationwide voting by one hour to 1300 GMT, AFP reports. There are already some reports that voting has been extended by more than that in individual constituencies in Karachi.


    Reuters reports that Karachi has failed to hold free and fair elections: "We have been unable to carry out free and fair elections in Karachi," it is quoted as saying said in a statement.

    Hassaan Idrees in Karachi

    emails: When I reached the polling station at 08:00, the sight of more than 300 men and women already waiting patiently in the queues was welcomed. Instead of 08:00, balloting started at noon, thanks to delays in logistics, ballot papers, boxes and the presiding officers themselves.


    This release from Pakistan's election commission cites concerns over voting in sector NA250 and reports polling staff being threatened and attempts to hijack vehicles transporting voting material.

    Fariha Osmani

    tweets: The turnout in the morning was So much more but now its reduced a lot. They have pretty much succeeded. #Phase4 #NA250 #Karachi #ModelSchool


    As voting goes into an hour of overtime, there is also a social media campaign "vote4none" spearheaded by Pakistani cleric Tahir-ul Qadri and which argues that nobody deserves a vote. But reports suggest a high turnout - certainly higher than in 2008.


    One AFP report says the atmosphere is festive in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province, which elects a little over half the number of seats in the national assembly.

    BBC Pakistan producer Wietske Burema

    tweets: Election-day cookies on sale in #Islamabad

    election day cookies

    Nationwide voting is drawing to a close, but polling in some parts of Karachi is set to go on for a few more hours. For many voters this has been an exhilarating day with reports suggesting turnout is high. But in Karachi there have been frustrations and apparent chaos in part with voting irregularities. The battleground is Punjab and as results trickle out over the next 24 hours it will be clear if the reports from around the nation match the final figures.

    1259: Journalist Rezaul Hasan Laskar

    tweets: Good to see much good natured ribbing between groups of PPP & PTI supporters that just came face to face in #Islamabad.


    We're going to wrap up our live coverage of this day of voting in Pakistan, but will continue updating the news story with the latest.


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