Estimated 20-25 pc polling in initial hours of Pakistan elections

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Islamabad, Feb 18 (UNI) An estimated 20-25 per cent voting was recorded till 0930 hrs at major polling centres for general elections in Pakistan today as polling got off to a slow start amid fears of violence.

Security concerns raised by bombings targeted at campaign rallies, in which several people were killed, kept people indoors as evident from the small queues before polling stations in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Peshawar.

''People are afraid to come out to vote as the poll campaign was overshadowed by violence and it may repeated on the polling day,'' a resident of the national capital said.

Polling started at 0800 hrs (local time) and will continue till 1700 hrs. More than 80 million voters are expected to exercise their franchise at 64,176 polling stations-- one third of them already declared sensitive.

More than 80,000 personnel of civil and armed forces and Army have been deployed across the country to help civil administration and the police in maintaining law and order.

More than 7200 candidates are in the fray for 269 seats of the National Assembly, out of 272, and 570 seats of the provincial assemblies.

Due to varied X X X Eds picking up here from line one para six of DF1, ELECTION-PAKISTAN.

UNI XC YA DS1126

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