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Voting begins in a special election in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, hours after sectarian clashes overnight killed at least 22 people.

The election was called after lawmaker Rasa Haider of the dominant Muttahida Qaumi Movement party -- which represents the city's Urdu speakers -- was killed by gunmen in August.

Voters are electing representatives in the provincial assembly.

Violence erupted between the city's majority Urdu-speaking population and the Pashto-speaking minority in clashes overnight.

Karachi resident Imran Ahmed told Reuters that things are tense as voters go to the polls.

"There are polls today. The situation is bad since last night. This should not have happened, it is very bad. About 25, 30 people have been killed since last night," Ahmed said.

The city's rival party, the ethnic Pashtun-based Awami National Party, is boycotting what they say is a rigged election.

The government has deployed troops at polling stations.

compiled from agency reports
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