Pakistan: more riots, no elections


Richard Moore

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Rioting in Pakistan Continues    €


    Pakistan Polls Postponed
    The Times of India
    Sunday 30 December 2007

Islamabad - The election commission of Pakistan (ECP) has decided to postpone 
the January 8 polls in view of the situation in the country after the murder of 
former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and will announce new dates for national 
and provincial assembly elections on Monday, a senior official of the commission

"Today in an informal meeting the senior officials of the ECP discussed the 
situation and unrest in the country and concluded that elections will have to be
postponed," said the official requesting anonymity. He said that the formal 
decision in this regard will be announced on Monday after a meeting with 
government and security officials.

After Saturday's meeting the ECP released a press statement saying that the 
election scheduled next month had been "adversely affected" by unrest in the 
country and that it would hold an urgent meeting on Monday. After opposition 
leader Benazir Bhutto's assassination, another candidate was killed in a bomb 
blast on Friday.

The commission said in its statement: "All activities pertaining to pre-poll 
arrangements, including printing of ballot papers and logistics as well as 
training of polling personnel, have been adversely affected." In some places, 
the commission said, the security situation was "not conducive" to holding the 
elections on January 8. "Election commission offices in nine districts have been
set on fire, leaving electoral rolls reduced to ashes."

Benazir Bhutto had returned to Pakistan after eight years of self-imposed exile 
to take part in the poll. After Bhutto's assassination, Pakistan Muslim 
League-Nawaz "the country's other major party" has already announced boycott of 
the polls.

Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has said it will decide about taking part 
in the polls on Sunday evening after prayers for Bhutto three days after her 


    Rioting in Pakistan Continues
    By Laura King
    The Los Angeles Times
    Sunday 30 December 2007

Dozens have been killed since the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. President 
Musharraf vows to restore order after a third day of violence.

President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday expressed determination to restore law 
and order after the country was racked by a third day of riots and looting that 
have killed dozens of people since the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

Officials said at least 44 people had been killed in unrest that broke out 
Thursday night after the former prime minister was killed as she left a campaign

Much of the unrest has been concentrated in and around Karachi, the southern 
port city that was Bhutto's home base. It has a long history of political 
violence and is a stronghold of a pro-Musharraf party.

Among the recent casualties was a young man shot to death in Karachi while 
wearing a tunic made from the flag of Bhutto's party. A gun battle in the 
streets of the city killed three other people.

Clashes also broke out Saturday in Rawalpindi, the city where Bhutto was killed.
After leaving a memorial service, some supporters threw stones at police 
officers, who responded with tear gas.

Other parts of the country, including the capital, Islamabad, remained mostly 

The Interior Ministry said Saturday that the violence had damaged or destroyed 
hundreds of banks, stores, gas stations, railway cars and rail stations. 
Property damage was estimated in the tens of millions of dollars.

Paramilitary troops in the most volatile areas have been given permission to use
deadly force against rioters.

The country has been in a state of virtual shutdown since Bhutto was killed, but
that was apparently in part because of violence and in part because of the three
official days of mourning that Musharraf declared.

Officials indicated that the violence might affect a decision on whether to go 
ahead with parliamentary elections on Jan. 8. The Election Commission was to 
meet Monday to discuss whether the vote should be postponed.

Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party planned to meet today, a gathering at which it 
may choose a new leader and decide whether to boycott the elections.

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