Feb. 18 elections have been 'rigged for Musharraf's allies': Former Pak intelligence official

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London, Feb 15 : Intelligence agencies of Pakistan have already rigged the February 18 parliamentary elections for pro-Musharraf political parties, a retired senior intelligence official has revealed.

The agencies have targeted key constituencies in the rural Pakistan, ballot boxes have been "pre-stuffed" and, compliant returning and presiding officers are drafted to polling booths, the former official told The Daily Telegraph.

He further alleged that Pakistan's military intelligence agencies had focused on rigging marginal seats in Punjab province to help the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).

"Nothing is needed on the day. It is all pre-planned," he said.

"The ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate] has directed and advised the PML-Q which seats need to be targeted and assisted them in achieving favourable results," he added.

Citing modes operandi for elections' rigging, the former intelligence official said that intimidating local politicians to transfer their vote banks and confiscating villagers' identity cards are a few methods that will be used by riggers.

He, however, said that despite of rigging, pro-Musharraf party would find it difficult to gain control of the parliament.

"Rigging will not be enough," said the former official, adding, "If it is overdone people will come into the streets."

It would be pertinent to mention here that Illahi Bux Soomro, a candidate for Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), has lodged complaints with the election commission that around 1,000 identity cards have been taken from prisoners in the local jail that will be used for rigging elections.

The former official claimed that a returning officer had been directed to take "sick leave" and a police superintendent was replaced after he refused to comply with the government plans to rig elections.

ANI

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