Saturday, February 16, 2008

Retired official says Pakistan vote rigged

Retired official says Pakistan vote rigged

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A retired Pakistani intelligence official says the agencies have rigged next week's polls to favor President Pervez Musharraf, a report said Friday.

Speaking to Britain's Daily Telegraph, the official said the country's intelligence agencies, concentrating on key rural constituencies, have allegedly fixed the electoral rolls, "pre-stuffed" ballot-boxes and drafted compliant election officers.

The parliamentary elections are to be Monday. Musharraf, a key ally in the U.S.-led war on terrorism, isn't contesting the election but could face impeachment if his political allies in the Pakistan Muslim League-Q party fail to win enough seats, the report said.

The Daily Telegraph reported the retired intelligence official alleged the military intelligence agencies had targeted marginal seats in the Punjab province to ensure the PML-Q controls the new parliament. The province accounts for 183 seats in the 342-member national assembly.

"The (Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate) has directed and advised the PML-Q which seats need to be targeted and assisted them in achieving favorable results," the official was quoted as saying.

The official, however, said even with rigging the Musharraf's allies cannot win enough seats and warned, "If it is overdone people will come into the streets."

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