Pakistani politicians were winding up campaigns on Saturday for a general election that is meant to complete a transition to civilian rule but has been overshadowed by fear of violence and accusations of rigging. The elections on Monday are for a new Parliament and provincial assemblies and while President Pervez Musharraf is not taking part, the vote could spell trouble for the important United States ally.
Pakistan election officials were Wednesday poised to announce the date of crucial polls, thrown into chaos in the wake of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto's assassination. A few hours later President Pervez Musharraf is to address the nation for the first time since her slaying at a campaign rally last week.
Pakistan's election commission said the date for parliamentary elections would be announced on Wednesday, with a delay until February now in view following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The January 8 vote, the next step along the road to civilian-led democracy in Pakistan, was thrown into chaos with the killing of the opposition leader last week.
Pakistan's elections will be delayed by at least four weeks due to mass unrest after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a Cabinet official said on Monday. Other government and election officials confirmed that the January 8 polls would be postponed. Bhutto's party rejected any delay.