Pakistani voters cast ballots amid uncertainty

Voters in Pakistan have cast their ballots in the country's general elections. The vote was held amid political turmoil and economic crisis.

It came one day after two explosions in the southwestern province of Balochistan killed dozens of people in an apparent attempt to disrupt the election.

Security measures were stepped up. Police were deployed at polling stations, mobile phone services were suspended across the country and some border posts were temporarily closed.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is seen as the front-runner. The three-time prime minister was convicted of corruption, but a high court last year overturned the ruling.

Sharif heads the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party. Analysts say he enjoys good relations with the military, which has a strong influence on politics.

Former Prime Minister and opposition leader Imran Khan was barred from running in the election as he was convicted of corruption and other charges. The former cricket star remains popular among young people and low-income workers.

People in Pakistan, with a population of 240 million, have been struggling amid an economic downturn. One of the country's main industries, agriculture, has been especially hard hit since devastating floods two years ago. Inflation is soaring and the jobless rate remains high.

After the election results are announced, the National Assembly will hold a parliamentary vote to choose the new prime minister.