Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

More Violence Feared with Poll Delay; BYLN:JASON BEATTIE

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

More Violence Feared with Poll Delay; BYLN:JASON BEATTIE

Article excerpt

Byline: JASON BEATTIE

(1) Mourning: Bhuttos daughter Bakhtawar Zardari reads from the koran at her mothers grave in the village of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh. Mrs Bhutto is buried next to her father, former Pakistani prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto(2) Is this Bhuttos killer?: video footage obtained by Channel appears to show a man in sunglasses, circled, raising what appears to be a handgun just feet away from Benazir Bhutto and then firing before an explosion rocks the car

PAKISTAN was today braced for a fresh wave of violence as theauthorities indicated next weeks elections were almost certain to be delayed.

With the country still reeling from the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, theelectoral commission is expected to recommend the poll should be postponed byseveral weeks.

Mrs Bhuttos Pakistan Peoples Party warned that any delay would be unacceptable.They fear president Pervez Musharrafs ruling party is deliberately seeking to push back the deadline in order tonullify as much as possible the sympathy vote likely to be gained by MrsBhuttos 19-year-son Bilawal Zardari, who was installed as the new chairman ofthe PPP at the weekend.

At a press conference yesterday, he said democracy would be the best revengefor his mothers death. The other main opposition parties have also said theyare ready for a January poll. The countrys electoral commission met today todecide whether to delay the elections scheduled for 8 January amid concerns thecountry is too volatile to hold such a crucial poll.

Electoral commission secretary Kan-war Dilashad said a decision on the timingwould be announced tomorrow but a recommendation has been sent to thegovernment for a delay.

A senior government of f icial predicted the elections would be postponed bysix weeks or so as the environment to hold free and fair elections is notconducive.

Amid fears that any postponement would unleash more rioting, Gordon Brown ledcalls from the international community for the country to remain calm. ThePrime Minister said the best way to honour the memory of Mrs Bhutto was toensure democracy triumphed over terrorism. …

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