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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: International | Government & Elections | Police State and Prisons
Bhutto had 'proof' of plan to rig election
Tuesday, January 1, 2008 : On the day she was assassinated, Benazir Bhutto had planned to reveal what she claimed was damning evidence that revealed the involvement of a shadowy Pakistani intelligence agency in a plan to rig the country's upcoming elections.
Colleagues of Ms Bhutto have revealed she was due to meet visiting US politicians to hand over a report compiled by her Pakistan People's Party (PPP) into an operation it says was being run by the ISI military intelligence agency to fix the polls in the favour of President Pervez Musharraf. Safraz Khan Lashari, a member of the PPP election monitoring cell, said the report was "very sensitive" and the party wanted to initially share it with trusted US politicians rather than the government of George Bush, which has backed Mr Musharraf.
The revelation came as the government prepared to postpone the upcoming election, despite demands from the opposition parties that they go ahead as scheduled on 8 January. A spokesman for the Election Commission said it had recommended an unspecified postponement and the government is due to announce a final decision later today.
The report compiled by the PPP apparently includes information on an alleged "safehouse" being run by the ISI in a neighbourhood of Islamabad called G-5, from which the rigging operation was run. "It was compiled from sources within the [intelligence] services who were working directly with Benazir Bhutto," said Mr Lashari.
The report names a recently retired ISI officer who has allegedly been running the rigging unit and claims he worked in tandem with another named senior intelligence officer. It also claims that US aid funds were being used for the projects.
At the heart of the scheme, the report says, was a project in which ballot papers – stamped in favour of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q), which supports Mr Musharraf – were to be produced by the intelligence agencies in about 100 constituencies. Mr Lashari said the effort was directed at constituencies where the result was likely to be decided by a small margin, so it would not be obvious. "They diverted money from aid activities. We had evidence of where they were spending the money," he added.Read More
Tuesday, January 1, 2008 : Asif Zardari, husband of murdered Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, has called for President Pervez Musharraf to resign and warned that the country could turn into another Somalia.