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Pakistan polls will be heavily rigged: AG

In a recording released by a human rights group, Malik Qayyum is heard advising a person what party to choose.

world Updated: Feb 16, 2008 03:48 IST

Pakistan's upcoming parliamentary polls will be "massively rigged", according to a purported audio recording of Attorney General Malik Qayyum.

In the recording released by a leading US-based human rights group, Qayyum appeared to be advising an unidentified person on what political party the person should approach to become a candidate in the February 18 general election.

The Human Rights Watch claimed the recording was made during a phone interview with a mediaperson on November 21 last year. Qayyum, while still on the phone interview, took a call on another telephone and his side of that conversation was recorded.

Qayyum, a retired judge who is a close aide of President Pervez Musharraf, is heard telling the unidentified person in Urdu and Punjabi to "leave" former premier Nawaz Sharif and seek a ticket from the party that "will massively rig to get their own people to win".

The recording was made the day after the Election Commission announced the schedule for polls. The polls were originally set for January 8 but were postponed after former premier Benazir Bhutto was assassinated.

"They will massively rig to get their own people to win. If you can get a ticket from these guys, take it," Qayyum purportedly said. It was not known which party he was referring to.

The Human Rights Watch said its repeated attempts to seek a response from Qayyum by phone were unsuccessful.