Pakistan vote delayed until Feb. 18
( AP ) - Pakistani election officials announced Wednesday that they were delaying parliamentary elections for six weeks until Feb. 18 because of the violence and chaos that followed the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.
The elections had been scheduled for Jan. 8, but Qazi Mohammed Farooq, head of the election commission, said it would be impossible to hold the polls on that day.
Election officials reported that rioters in Bhutto's home province of Sindh burned down 10 election offices, destroying the voter rolls and ballot boxes inside. The violence also halted the printing and distribution of ballots.
Because of the situation following Bhutto's death "for a few days the election process came to a complete halt," Farooq said.
The opposition had demanded the polls take place on time and some leaders had called for street protests if they were to be delayed.