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Shocker: Pakistanis Vote, Mostly In Peace

From those champions of open and free elections at Reuters:

A Pakistani woman fills her ballot paper in Peshawar.

Counting begins after Pakistanis vote, mostly in peace

By Augustine Anthony

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Counting began on Monday after an election in Pakistan which was far less violent than feared, although it could result in a parliament set on driving U.S. ally President Pervez Musharraf from power.

The former army chief called for reconciliation after casting his vote in the city of Rawalpindi, where opposition leader and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on December 27.

The vote for a new National Assembly and provincial assemblies was to have been held early last month, but was delayed because of Bhutto’s assassination.

Polling stations closed their doors at 5 p.m. (1200 GMT). Results are expected to start emerging by midnight and trends should be clear on Tuesday morning…

Fear of more violence kept many Pakistanis away from the polls, despite 80,000 troops backing up police.

Election official Mohammad Farooq estimated turnout at 35 pct at his polling station in Rawalpindi.

“Considering the security circumstances, that’s good,” he said as the polls closed.

An intelligence official said 11 people have been killed — seven of them in Punjab province — and 70 wounded in election violence since voting began.

In Bhutto’s home province of Sindh, Home Secretary Arif Ali Khan said two people had been killed and 50 wounded in poll-related incidents.

“This is almost insignificant,” said Khan, while expressing sorrow over the deaths

Most analysts doubted the PPP could win a majority. If not, its choices for coalition partners would be vital to Musharraf…

Nearly 81 million people were registered to vote. Several hundred foreigners and thousands of Pakistanis monitored the election but were not allowed to do exit polls.

The real fear here, at least in the minds of the media, is that Mr. Musharraf’s party will do well.

But of course they already have staked out a fallback position if that should happen. They will simply declare the elections have been rigged.

All based on nothing but their red hot desire to have the terrorists win control of Pakistan.

Or more exactly, their determination to have the US lose another front in the war against Islamic extremism.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, February 18th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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