Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Abduction, Attacks Mar Run-Up to Pakistan Election

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Abduction, Attacks Mar Run-Up to Pakistan Election

Article excerpt

ISLAMABAD * An especially violent spate of killings, kidnappings and bombings have marred the run-up to Pakistan's nationwide election, capped Thursday by the abduction of the son of a former prime minister as he was rallying supporters on the last day of campaigning before the historic vote.

Saturday's election marks the first time in Pakistan's military coup-riddled history that a civilian government has finished its term and will hand over power to another. But the significance of the occasion has been overshadowed by the relentless violence targeting mostly liberal, secular parties.

More than 125 people have been killed by a series of bombings and shootings that can mostly be traced to Taliban militants who have vowed to disrupt a democratic process they view as un-Islamic. Separatists in the southwestern province of Baluchistan have also attacked candidates and their supporters across the political spectrum.

There was no claim of responsibility for the abduction of Ali Haider Gilani, 25, but suspicion immediately fell on the Taliban. …

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