ISLAMABAD: Turnout in Pakistan's landmark elections on Saturday was around 30 percent by midday and is expected to rise to 60 percent before the polls close, the election commission estimated.
"The turnout is really encouraging. Now we are at 30 percent. We expect it will be close to 60 percent at the end of the day," spokesman Khurshid Alam told AFP, saying the rate was higher than at the same point in the last election.
Overall turnout was 44 percent during the 2008 polls.
Commentators had been divided on whether millions of enthusiastic first-time voters or Taliban threats would make turnout higher or lower than last time.