This news report to many does not come as a surprise, as many independent observers including this scribe have been screaming all along that these elections are no where near the notion of being free and fair – these elections were being carefully heavily rigged and the results planned in the favor of the ruling coalition, Jeremy Page has come out with some interesting discussions but I hope for the sake of transparency that the original document does finally make it into the free world
Published in Times Online written by Jeremy Page in Naudero excerpts of the article quoted here while the rest can be read on TIMES ONLINE
On the day she was assassinated, Benazir Bhutto was due to meet two senior American politicians to show them a confidential report alleging that Pakistans intelligence service was using US money to rig parliamentary elections, officials in her party said yesterday.
The report was compiled by the former Prime Ministers own contacts within the security services and alleged that the Inter-Services Intelligence agency was running the election operation from a safe house in the capital, Islamabad, they said. The operations aim was to undermine Ms Bhuttos Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and to ensure victory for the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) party, which supports President Musharraf, in the elections scheduled for January 8.
Patrick Kennedy, a Democratic congressman for Rhode Island, and Arlen Specter, a Republican member of the Senate sub-committe on foreign operations, have confirmed that they were planning to have dinner with Ms Bhutto on Thursday evening but were not available for comment yesterday.
Sarfraz Ali Lashari, a senior PPP official who works in its election monitoring cell, told The Times that he had helped to compile a 200-page report on the Governments efforts to rig the poll, which Ms Bhutto planned to give to the Americans and to the press the day she was killed.
“But there is another report relating to the ISI and she was going to discuss it with them, said Mr Lashari, an envi-ronmental economist who taught at Cranfield University for several years.
The second report, which Ms Bhutto did not plan to release to the media, alleged that the ISI was using some of the $10 billion (Ã‚Â£5 billion) in US military aid that Pakistan has received since 2001 to run a covert election operation from a safe house in G5, a central district of Islamabad, he said.
“The report was done by some people who weve got in the services. They directly dealt with Benazir Bhutto, he continued, adding that Ms Bhutto was planning to share the contents of the report with the British Ambassador as well as the US lawmakers.
Asif Ali Zardari, Ms Bhuttos widower and the new co-chairman of the PPP, confirmed the existence of the report, its basic contents and Ms Bhuttos plans to meet the US lawmakers last Thursday. Asked if such a report was in his possession, he said: “Something to that effect. Asked if Ms Bhutto was planning to share its contents with the American legislators, he said: “I am not in a position to make an answer to that. Asked if the report contained evidence that the ISI was using US funds to rig the elections, he said: “Possibly so. He declined to give further details, but said the confidential report could have been one of several motives for killing Ms Bhutto, who died after a suicide-bomb and gun attack on an election rally near Islamabad. “It was a general combination of all of these things. The fact that shes on the ground exposing everybody, I guess, would have been one reason. There are many views and many reasons one can think of for her assassination.
The allegation is likely to fuel the already intense speculation surrounding the death, which triggered nationwide riots and raised fears that President Musharraf could reimpose emergency rule and postpone the elections.
Mr Lashari, the PPP official, said that Ms Bhutto wanted to share the report with them because she did not entirely trust the US Government, which still regards President Musharraf as a key ally in the War on Terror. “The idea was to discuss it with all the international stakeholders, mainly including Britain and the United States, but we didnt want to share it with anyone who could use it against us, he said.
“It would be unwise to do anything that would annoy Musharraf. and the international stakeholders. Everything could collapse if the Army comes to know that there is something substantial against them. Its dangerous to name people in Pakistan. Pakistani media reports have alleged the existence of an ISI safe house used to rig the elections and identified Ijaz Hussain Shah, a retired general who heads the civilian Intelligence Bureau, as one of those involved.
The murder of Benazir has changed everything. It will be very difficult to rig the polls. If Musharraf is enough of an ass to attempt it, (and he is), there will be hell to pay. Also see below
What i find funny is that they need to prepare a 200 page dossier on how the elections are being rigged.
when is the last time an election was not rigged in Pakistan? yes sir u got it.. when Sheikh Mujeeb Ur Rehman won in east pakistan and we couldnt take that even!!
Mush has been using US taxpayers’ money to wipe his rotten a$$.