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Pakistan to Decide Poll Date on Tuesday

Reuters
Monday, 31 Dec 2007 | 3:11 AM ET

Pakistan's Election Commission will decide on Tuesday whether to postpone a Jan. 8 general election meant to complete a transition to civilian rule, a commission official said on Monday.

Benazir Bhutto
Lefteris Pitarakis
Benazir Bhutto

The election has been thrown into question by the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on Thursday and widespread violence, especially in the south of the country, by her enraged supporters.

"We have called for reports from the provincial governments and provincial election commissioners on the situation. The reports will reach here by evening today and we will decide tomorrow," commission secretary Kanwar Dilshad told reporters.

Ten Election Commission offices had been burnt in Sindh in the south, Bhutto's home province, in the rioting that followed her murder, he said.

The printing of ballots in Karachi, the capital of Sindh, had been halted for the past four days because of the trouble, he said. Security in two northwestern regions also raised doubts about voting there, the commission said earlier.

Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party, now led by her teenage son and husband, said on Sunday it was ready to take part in the elections.

Another main opposition party, led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, said it would probably drop its boycott plan and take part as well.

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