Pakistanis turned out in unexpectedly small numbers Wednesday for a bitterly contested national election widely considered a referendum on the dismissal of Benazir Bhutto as prime minister.
At least four people were killed and 11 injured in disputes involving rival parties, officials said, and there were scattered reports of voter harassment, intimidation and ballot-box theft.The monthlong campaign claimed at least a dozen lives.
Tens of thousands of heavily armed soldiers, paramilitary troops and police patrolled throughout the country during the voting. Wednesday's general elections were only the fifth in Pakistan since its 1947 inception, and never before was the military deployed in such large humbers during polling.
Bhutto claimed her Aug. 6 dismissal amounted to a "constitutional coup" by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, and that abuse of power charges filed against her are baseless slander.
The former prime minister predicted victory for her party.