Mass Rigging Charged Ahead of Pakistan Vote

Bhutto's party appears unstoppable but some fear fraud will rob victory
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2008 5:31 AM CST
Mass Rigging Charged Ahead of Pakistan Vote
Asif Ali Zardari, husband of Pakistan's slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, speaks to supporters at a campaign rally in Faisalabad, Pakistan, Thursday Feb. 14, 2008. Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf pledged Thursday that next week's elections would be free, fair and held on time, after political...   (Associated Press)

Pakistan's postponed parliamentary elections will finally take place on Monday, but allegations are flying that Pervez Musharraf's party has already rigged the vote. Pakistan's intelligence agencies have "pre-stuffed" ballot boxes, confiscated voter ID cards, and appointed party apparatchiks in key rural constituencies, a retired senior intelligence officer told the Telegraph. Musharraf 's party is a clear underdog in the election.

An American-conducted survey suggested that about 50% of citizens would support the Pakistan People's Party, led by Benazir Bhutto's widower, Asif Ali Zardari—with 22% backing Nawaz Sharif's Muslim League and only 14% favoring Musharraf's party. Despite the president's denial of vote fraud, the US State Department has said it expects rigging in Monday's poll and is worried about the prospect of post-election violence. (Read more Pakistan stories.)

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