The election must go ahead on time – that is the message today to Pakistan’s election commission from the party of murdered opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. The commission says it will announce tomorrow whether polls on January 8 should go ahead, after the government said it wanted a delay of several weeks because of unrest.
The 19-year-old son of Benazir Bhutto and her husband have taken over the leadership of her Pakistan People’s Party.
One man in Islamabad said: “People are in shock because of Bhutto’s death and will vote for her party. If there’s a delay, people will feel worse.” Another man said: “If Bhutto’s party doesn’t take part in the election then other parties will win, leaving it up to God.”
The other main opposition party led by Nawaz Sharif now seems willing to drop its threat of an election boycott. Unrest following Bhutto’s murder has now left more than 50 people dead.