Pakistani opposition against delaying polls for long – TV

ISLAMABAD, December 31 (RIA Novosti) – The opposition is against a long delay in a January parliamentary poll in Pakistan, plunged into violence by the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, Pakistani television said on Monday.

Bhutto’s killing in a suicide attack on Thursday has sparked protests against President Pervez Musharraf across the country. Election authorities are to decide on Tuesday whether to postpone the election, but a two-month delay is widely expected in the country.

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“We are ready for the election and do not want any delays,” a member of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, said. “We demand the election take place on January 8.”

Ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the polls could only be delayed for a short period of time.

The death toll from violence since Bhutto’s death was reported to have reached 47 people. Election officials said about 40 of its offices had been burnt or damaged. They said security concerns also persist as sporadic violence has been reported in some regions.

Bhutto’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was announced co-leader of her PPP party on Sunday along with their 19-year-old son, Bilawal.