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Polls: Pakistan suspends mobile service, closes borders

Pakistan authorities on Thursday, suspended mobile services and closed borders with neighbouring Afghanistan and Iran to secure the voting, after deadly bombings a day earlier.…

Pakistan authorities on Thursday, suspended mobile services and closed borders with neighbouring Afghanistan and Iran to secure the voting, after deadly bombings a day earlier.

The Interior Ministry in the capital Islamabad announced the temporary suspension of mobile phone services across the country minutes before the voting opened for the tense national elections.

“The decision is to ensure the safety of the voters,’’ a ministry statement said.

At least 26 people were killed and more than 50 were wounded when two separatist bombings targeted the campaign offices of the local candidates in the southwestern province of Balochistan.

The authorities also ordered to shut the country’s border with Afghanistan and Iran for a day, the Foreign Ministry’s Spokeswoman Mumtaz Baloch said.

Thousands of people cross both borders daily and Islamabad has been blaming Kabul for its failure to control terrorists launching cross-border attacks from their alleged hideouts in Afghanistan.

More than half of around 90,000 polling stations were prone to violence, the elections panel said.

The interior ministry said around 600,000 security personnel were guarding the polls in the nuclear-armed Islamic republic.

Islamist militants had used mobile phones to detonate planted explosive devices in the past. (dpa/NAN)

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