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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 August 2005, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
Pakistan poll violence kills four
Voters queue in Karachi
There are two rounds of polling on consecutive Thursdays
At least four people have been killed and 12 others injured in violence during the ongoing local elections in Pakistan, officials said.

Two people were killed in Faisalabad when attackers opened fire on the office of a candidate.

In another incident, two people were killed in Gujranwalla city after rival groups opened fire on each other.

The first of two rounds of polling was held on Thursday, with the second round due on 25 August.

Final results will take at least two more days, election officials have said.

A senior police official in Faisalabad, Chaudhry Sajjad, said nine people have been arrested in connection with the attack on a candidate's office.

A record 218,000 candidates, including more than 55,000 women, are contesting what are only the second such elections since President Pervez Musharraf took power in Pakistan in 1999.

Dispute

Turnout in the first phase of polling was more than 50%, the election commission said.

Opposition parties have accused the government of serious irregularities during polling and have disputed the turnout figure.

But the election commission chief, Abdul Hameed Dogar, denied there had been any fraud.

"People took keen interest in polling and there was no complaint of rigging," he said.

In Pakistan's most populous province of Punjab, candidates backed by the national ruling party, Pakistan Muslim League-Q, have done well.

In the southern port city of Karachi, Pakistan's largest ethnic party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), looks set for victory.

The MQM represents Urdu-speaking migrants from India.

The six-party religious alliance, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) looks likely to retain its majority in the majority of districts in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP).

The alliance looks likely to keep control of Peshawar - the capital of NWFP - and Dera Ismail Khan, the BBC's Haroon Rashid in Peshawar says.

However, the secular Awami National Party, which failed to win a single seat in the province in 2002 general elections, seems to have done well in the districts of Charsaddah and Swabi.


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