At a bustling polling station in the Lahore district where Imran Khan is seeking a parliament seat, the attitudes of Pakistani voters on Saturday reflected the intensity of the contest between the former cricket star and former two-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
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In Pakistan today, millions went to the polls to elect new government. NPR's Julie McCarthy has been following the candidates, their campaigns and issues leading up to this. She joins us now from Lahore. Welcome, Julie.
JULIE MCCARTHY, BYLINE: Thank you.
RATH: So in the last 24 hours, we've heard a lot about the threats and violence aimed at stopping voters, and even shutting down polling places. What's the significance of this election? Can you put it into context for people?
Despite attacks in the days and weeks leading up to Saturday's voting — and deadly bombings and other attacks on the very day they're going to the polls — Pakistanis are showing they're willing to "defy the violence," NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from Lahore.
Flags of the competing political parties whip in the wind of seaside Karachi. But little else is stirring in this city of 18 million this day.
The MQM, a leading political party in the megacity, has shut Karachi down with a general strike in response to a deadly bombing at its election office. But as soon as the strike ends, the streets spring to life as if nothing were amiss.