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Pakistanis vote, should weaken Musharraf

Pakistanis began voting Monday morning in parliamentary elections that, according to the New York Times, will likely weaken the country's President Pervez Musharraf.

The vote comes nearly two months after the assasination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, and officials say it is likely that unrest will follow the vote, no matter the outcome, according to the Times.

Reuters reported that 80,000 troops were backing up police, watching over polling places, according to the Times.

There have been widespread reports of plans to rig the election. A spokesperson for Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party , which is leading in many polls, said the vote was "not going to be a free and fair election," the BBC reporteda>.

The speculation was not limites to Bhutto's party. Bhutto's former rival, Nawaz Sharif, whose party is also ahead of Musharraf's n polls, said a "massive rigging plan" had "been implemented," according to the BBC.


There have been many threats of widespread protests if the elections are suspected of being unfair, both the BBC and the TImes reported.