At least 11 people have died and 30 others have been injured after an explosion in Karachi as Pakistan goes to the polls in the first democratic transition of power in the country's history.

The landmark election has been marred by violence across the country, killing some 130 people before Saturday's bomb, which targeted the headquarters of one of the country's three key secular liberal parties, the Awami National Party (ANP). The Karachi-based Muttahida Quami Movement and the Pakistan People's Party's offices are also believed to be key targets for the militants.

It has been reported that the Pakistani Taliban had warned voters to stay away from polling stations on Election Day to avoid attacks, with their leader Hakimullah Mehsud claiming that democracy is incompatible with Islam.

pakistan election

The Awami National Party's Karachi offices were attacked ahead of polling day in the country

In anticipation of violence, Pakistan had closed its borders to Afghanistan and Iran and deployed more than half a million police officers and soldiers to maintain order at polling stations. According to the BBC, 20,000 polling stations have been marked as at risk to attack on Saturday.

The close-fought contest, in which Pakistan will for the first time elect 272 members of a 342-seat National Assembly, pits former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) against outgoing president Ali Asif Zardari (PPP) and fast-rising 60-year-old former cricketer Imran Khan, leader of the Tehreek-e-Insaf party.

The election marks the first time in Pakistan's 65-year history that a civilian government has completed its full term and handed over power in democratic elections. Previous governments have been toppled by military coups or sacked by presidents allied with the powerful army.

Sharif, who was ousted in a military coup lead by General Pervez Musharraf in 1999, is tipped to return to office, while no party is expected to receive an outright majority. Khan is considered a dark horse candidate, pinning his hopes on a wave of political fervour from the country's young voters - two thirds of the 86 million registered voters are below 35.

Khan has spent the final stretch of the election in hospital after falling 15 feet from a forklift at an election rally in Lahore on Wednesday.

imran khan

Crowds gather to watch Khan's emotional address from hospital on Thursday

The ex-Pakistan Test cricketer sustained broken ribs and vertebrae in his back, but was able to give an address propped up in his hospital bed later in the week. Thousands of supporters gathered in the streets to watch Khan urge his party on.

“God has given us a chance. Don't let it slip away,” Khan said. “We must break the status quo.”

Violence elsewhere in the country has seen the son of one election hopeful, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, abducted in his home district, with smaller bombings and clashes affecting some polling areas in the country.

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  • PAKISTAN-UNREST-VOTE-BLAST

    Pakistani residents gather at the site of a bomb explosion in Karachi on May 11, 2013. A Taliban bomb attack targeting an election candidate killed at least 11 people and wounded 36 others in Pakistan's financial hub of Karachi as polls got under way, a doctor said. The bomb targeted a candidate seeking election to the Sindh provincial assembly for the Awami National Party (ANP), the main secular party for ethnic Pashtuns, police said. AFP PHOTO / ASIF HASSAN (Photo credit should read ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • PAKISTAN-UNREST-VOTE-BLAST

    Pakistani residents gather at the site of a bomb explosion in Karachi on May 11, 2013. A Taliban bomb attack targeting an election candidate killed at least 11 people and wounded 36 others in Pakistan's financial hub of Karachi as polls got under way, a doctor said. The bomb targeted a candidate seeking election to the Sindh provincial assembly for the Awami National Party (ANP), the main secular party for ethnic Pashtuns, police said. AFP PHOTO / ASIF HASSAN (Photo credit should read ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Pakistani army soldiers react as they secure the area around a polling station that was hit by a bomb blast, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Saturday, May 11, 2013. In the northwestern city of Peshawar a bomb exploded outside a polling station, killing at least one person and wounding 10 others, said police officer Mukhtiar Khan. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

  • Pakistani army soldiers stand guard next to the site of a bomb blast outside a polling station in Peshawar, Pakistan, Saturday, May 11, 2013. In the northwestern city of Peshawar a bomb exploded outside a polling station, killing at least one person and wounding 10 others, said police officer Mukhtiar Khan. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

  • A Pakistani man, who was injured in a bomb blast outside a polling station, is rushed to a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Saturday, May 11, 2013. A bomb exploded outside a polling station, killing at least one person and wounding 10 others, said police officer Mukhtiar Khan in Peshawar. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

  • Pakistani men react next to the body of a relative who was killed in a bomb blast, in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, May 11, 2013. The blasts in the port city of Karachi targeted the political offices of the Awami National Party, one of three secular liberal parties that have been targeted by Taliban militants during the run-up to the election, said police officer Shabir Hussain. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

  • A Pakistani man comforts a family member next to the body of their relative who was killed in a bomb blast near a polling station on election day, at a hospital morgue in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, May 11, 2013. The blasts in the port city of Karachi targeted the political offices of the Awami National Party, one of three secular liberal parties that have been targeted by Taliban militants during the run-up to the election, said police officer Shabir Hussain. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

  • A Pakistani boy cries next to the site of a bomb blast outside a polling station in Peshawar, Pakistan, Saturday, May 11, 2013. In the northwestern city of Peshawar a bomb exploded outside a polling station, killing at least one person and wounding 10 others, said police officer Mukhtiar Khan. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

  • Pakistanis gather at the site of a bomb blast at the offices of the Awami National Party in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, May 11, 2013. The blasts in the port city of Karachi targeted the political offices of the Awami National Party, one of three secular liberal parties that have been targeted by Taliban militants during the run-up to the election, said police officer Shabir Hussain. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)

  • Pakistani women show their election ink-stained thumbs after casting their ballots at a polling station on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Saturday, May 11, 2013. Pakistanis streamed to the polls Saturday to vote in a historic election pitting a cricket star-turned-politician against an unpopular incumbent and a two-time prime minister, but twin bombings killing nine people and wounding dozens underlined the dangers voters face. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • Pakistani women line up to enter a polling station and cast their ballots, on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Saturday, May 11, 2013. Pakistanis streamed to the polls Saturday to vote in a historic election pitting a cricket star-turned-politician against an unpopular incumbent and a two-time prime minister, but twin bombings killing nine people and wounding dozens underlined the dangers voters face. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • A Pakistani woman fills out her ballot before casting it, at a polling station on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Saturday, May 11, 2013. Pakistanis streamed to the polls Saturday to vote in a historic election pitting a cricket star-turned-politician against an unpopular incumbent and a two-time prime minister, but twin bombings killing nine people and wounding dozens underlined the dangers voters face. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • Women voters stand in a queue outside a polling station in Islamabad, Pakistan on Saturday, May 11, 2013. Despite a bloody campaign marred by Taliban attacks, Pakistan was holding historic elections Saturday pitting a former cricket star against a two-time prime minister once exiled by the army and an incumbent blamed for power blackouts and inflation. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

  • A Pakistani woman casts her ballot at a polling station on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Saturday, May 11, 2013. Pakistanis streamed to the polls Saturday to vote in a historic election pitting a cricket star-turned-politician against an unpopular incumbent and a two-time prime minister, but twin bombings killing nine people and wounding dozens underlined the dangers voters face. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

  • Pakistani women cast their ballots at a polling station in Islamabad, Pakistan on Saturday, May 11, 2013. Despite a bloody campaign marred by Taliban attacks, Pakistan was holding historic elections Saturday pitting a former cricket star against a two-time prime minister once exiled by the army and an incumbent blamed for power blackouts and inflation. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

  • A Pakistani voter casts his ballot at a polling station in Islamabad, Pakistan on Saturday, May 11, 2013. Despite a bloody campaign marred by Taliban attacks, Pakistan was holding historic elections Saturday pitting a former cricket star against a two-time prime minister once exiled by the army and an incumbent blamed for power blackouts and inflation. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

  • Pakistani police officers stand guard outside a polling station in Islamabad, Pakistan on Saturday, May 11, 2013. Despite a bloody campaign marred by Taliban attacks, Pakistan was holding historic elections Saturday pitting a former cricket star against a two-time prime minister once exiled by the army and an incumbent blamed for power blackouts and inflation. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

  • Pakistanis Vote In General Election

    LAHORE, PAKISTAN - MAY 11: A Pakistani woman casts her vote at a polling station on May 11, 2013 in the Old City of Lahore, Pakistan. Millions of Pakistanis cast their votes in parliamentary elections held today on May 11. It is the first time in the country's history that an elected government will hand over power to another elected government. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

  • Pakistanis Vote In General Election

    LAHORE, PAKISTAN - MAY 11: Pakistani women queue to cast their vota at a polling station on May 11, 2013 on the outskirts of Lahore, Pakistan. Millions of Pakistanis cast their votes in parliamentary elections held today on May 11. It is the first time in the country's history that an elected government will hand over power to another elected government. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

  • Pakistanis Vote In General Election

    LAHORE, PAKISTAN - MAY 11: Children play as others register their ballot at a makeshift registering point outside of a polling station on May 11, 2013 on the outskirts of Lahore, Pakistan. Millions of Pakistanis cast their votes in parliamentary elections held today on May 11. It is the first time in the country's history that an elected government will hand over power to another elected government. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

  • PAKISTAN-UNREST-VOTE

    Pakistani residents arrive to cast their ballots at a polling station during the general election in Rawalpindi on May 11, 2013. Bomb attacks wounded 12 people outside polling stations in northwest Pakistan, police said, but many voters were not deterred from casting their ballots in landmark polls. The vote marks the first time that an elected civilian administration has completed a full term and handed power to another through the ballot box in a country where there have been three military coups and four military rulers. AFP PHOTO/Farooq NAEEM (Photo credit should read FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)

  • PAKISTAN-UNREST-VOTE-BLAST

    Pakistani residents gather at the site of a bomb explosion in Karachi on May 11, 2013. A Taliban bomb attack targeting an election candidate killed at least 11 people and wounded 36 others in Pakistan's financial hub of Karachi as polls got under way, a doctor said. The bomb targeted a candidate seeking election to the Sindh provincial assembly for the Awami National Party (ANP), the main secular party for ethnic Pashtuns, police said. AFP PHOTO / ASIF HASSAN (Photo credit should read ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • PAKISTAN-UNREST-VOTE

    An elderly Pakistani resident casts his vote at a polling station in the village of Dial on the outskirts of Lahore on May 11, 2013. Pakistanis queued up to vote in landmark elections, defying Taliban attacks to cast their ballots in polls marking a historic democratic transition for the nuclear-armed state. Queues gathered outside polling stations in Pakistan's main cities where some people said they were nervous about security, but others spoke enthusiastically about exercising their democratic right and voting for change. More than 86 million people are eligible to vote for the 342-member national assembly and four provincial assemblies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan. AFP PHOTOS/Roberto SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Pakistanis Vote In General Election

    LAHORE, PAKISTAN - MAY 11: Pakistani men queue to cast their vote at a polling station on May 11, 2013 on the outskirts of Lahore, Pakistan. Millions of Pakistanis cast their votes in parliamentary elections; the first time in the country's history that an elected government will hand over power to another elected government. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

  • PAKISTAN-UNREST-VOTE

    A Pakistani resident casts her vote at a polling station in Islamabad on May 11, 2013. Pakistanis queued up to vote in landmark elections, defying Taliban attacks to cast their ballots in polls marking a historic democratic transition for the nuclear-armed state. AFP PHOTO / AAMIR QURESHI (Photo credit should read AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • PAKISTAN-UNREST-VOTE

    Pakistani voters lineup at a polling station during the general election in Rawalpindi on May 11, 2013. A bomb attack targeting an election candidate killed 11 people in Pakistan's financial hub of Karachi as historic polls got under way, a hospital doctor said. AFP PHOTO/Farooq NAEEM (Photo credit should read FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)

  • PAKISTAN-UNREST-VOTE

    A Pakistani policeman gestures to residents as they line up to cast their votes at a polling station in the village of Wagah on the outskirts of Lahore on May 11, 2013. Pakistanis queued up to vote in landmark elections, defying Taliban attacks to cast their ballots in polls marking a historic democratic transition for the nuclear-armed state. A little less then half of the registered voters are women. More than 86 million people are eligible to vote for the 342-member national assembly and four provincial assemblies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan. AFP PHOTOS/Roberto SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • PAKISTAN-UNREST-VOTE

    A Pakistani resident casts her vote at a polling station in Islamabad on May 11, 2013. Pakistanis queued up to vote in landmark elections, defying Taliban attacks to cast their ballots in polls marking a historic democratic transition for the nuclear-armed state. AFP PHOTO / AAMIR QURESHI (Photo credit should read AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • PAKISTAN-UNREST-VOTE

    Images mark the difference between various candidates in a ballot laid on a table at a polling station in the village of Dial on the outskirts of Lahore on May 11, 2013. Bomb attacks wounded 12 people outside polling stations in northwest Pakistan, police said, but many voters were not deterred from casting their ballots in landmark polls. The vote marks the first time that an elected civilian administration has completed a full term and handed power to another through the ballot box in a country where there have been three military coups and four military rulers. More than 86 million people are eligible to vote for the 342-member national assembly and four provincial assemblies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan. AFP PHOTOS/Roberto SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • PAKISTAN-UNREST-VOTE

    A Pakistani voter prepares to cast her ballot at a polling station during the general election in Rawalpindi on May 11, 2013. A bomb attack targeting an election candidate killed 11 people in Pakistan's financial hub of Karachi as historic polls got under way, a hospital doctor said. AFP PHOTO/Farooq NAEEM (Photo credit should read FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)