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
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...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 5 more images

(Newser) – 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.