Violence continues to maul Pakistan's voters as a suicide blast in northwestern Quetta killed at least 29 people and injured more than 30 at a polling station Wednesday morning.
The attack was claimed by the Islamic State, which also took responsibility for an attack that killed 151 at an election rally on July 13, the second-deadliest attack in Pakistan's history.
Terrorism, corruption, economic development and foreign relations are some of the major issues facing Pakistan’s next government. But whether progress will be made on any of those fronts after the world’s sixth-most populous country votes in its general election Wednesday is far from certain.
The south Asian nation of 208 million has depleted its foreign currency reserves and suffers from a widening current account deficit, meaning an International Monetary Fund (IMF) rescue will be necessary, analysts say. This while rampant corruption and sporadic terrorist attacks, as well as a wave of extremist candidates attempting to enter politics, threaten security, foreign investment and international relationships even amid an improving trade environment.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s tense relationship with Washington — which recently suspended $2 billion in security assistance to Islamabad over accusations that it was failing to curb terrorist activity within its borders — has broadened the opportunity for China to deepen its ties with the country.