Pak EC to take final call on Jan 8 polls on Jan 1

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Islamabad, Dec 31: The Pakistan Election Commission will take a final decision tomorrow about holding the parliamentary elections on January 8 in view of the deterioration in the law and order situation all over the country especially in the nine districts of Sindh in the wake of assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

A final decision whether elections should be held on January 8 as per schedule or to be postponed will be taken during the commission's meeting tomorrow, a panel official said today. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Farooq Qazi chaired a meeting of the panel in Islamabad, which reviewed in detail the prevailing law and order situation in the country after assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in the garrison town of Rawalpindi on Thursday.

''The commission called for detailed reports from the provinces about law and order situation,'' the official said, adding that it is difficult to say anything with authority about elections being held on January 8.

Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has decided to go into elections for what the new co-chairperson Asif Zardari called ''democracy as revenge for the slain opposition leader.'' Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz(PML-N) led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, which had also announced to boycott elections as expression of solidarity with Bhutto, said yesterday, they would contest polls.

The PML-Nawaz decision came after Mr Zardari's telephonic conversation with the party chief Mr Nawaz Sharif.

Mr Tariq Azeem, former deputy information minister and spokesman of Pakistan Muslim League(Q), which ruled the country for five years, told to the sources that his party is also ready to contest the polls.

''We are fully prepared but if the election commission and the government decides to postpone the election, we will understand their problem,'' he said.


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