ucanews.com reporter, PeshawarUpdated: August 21, 2013 10:17 PM GMT
File photo shows women voters at a previous election in Karachi (picture: Shutterstock)
The Pakistani Taliban has said it will kidnap and slaughter women who vote in today’s by-election in restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, declaring the polls un-Islamic.
Pamphlets distributed by the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Hangu in the northern tribal area of the country also threaten bomb attacks on polling booths.
“Democracy is un-Islamic. We convey this to all Muslims in Hangu town that anyone who enters polling stations would be killed,” the pamphlets read. “We have fulfilled our obligation by issuing a warning and now it is your responsibility to save your life.”
The TTP said it was closely monitoring the situation on the ground as police sought to safeguard voting.
“We have deployed heavy security at all polling stations to protect voters in the wake of threats,” said Hangu District Police Officer Sajjad Khan.
There were no immediate reports of attacks in Hangu which is also the hometown of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak.
The town was the sole seat being contested in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa out of 41 across Pakistan, the biggest by-election in the country’s history, after polling was cancelled in another constituency in the province due to security threats.
A local journalist who declined to be identified said the turnout had been low in Hangu although some women ignored the threats.
PakVote, an organization which promotes inclusion in the polling process, said voter numbers had been higher than expected.
The TTP issued similar warnings during general elections in May, taking away ballot boxes in Hangu and Lakki Marwat.