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Pakistan goes to the polls -

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Pakistan goes to the polls

Broadcast: 18/02/2008

Reporter: Peter Lloyd

After a delay caused by the assassination of popular opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan has
today voted for its next government.


TONY JONES: After a delay caused by the assassination of popular Opposition Leader Benazir Bhutto,
Pakistan has today voted for its next Government.

Fears of violence by Islamic militants saw a mass mobilisation of troops and security forces to
guard polling stations across the country.

President Pervez Musharraf is not on the ballot paper, but the outcome could decide the future of
the unpopular dictator, with polls suggesting he will face a hostile Parliament.

South Asia correspondent Peter Lloyd reports from Islamabad.

PETER LLOYD: Pakistani's are casting their votes for the first time in five years. The mood for
change is unmistakable.

PAKISTANI VOTER ONE: I want a different Pakistan. There's been so much unrest and the emergency
rule imposed by Musharraf.

PETER LLOYD: is a mechanic and first time voter.

PAKISTANI VOTER TWO: We want change. We want a new Government.

PETER LLOYD: President Pervez Musharraf is not on the ballot. This is an election to choose a new
Parliament and polls suggest control will go to Party's hostile to the dictator. Musharraf may have
plenty of foes, but among today's voters there were friends too.

PAKISTANI VOTER THREE: Yes he is good. President Musharraf did the right thing for Pakistan in the

PETER LLOYD: This polling station is in Rawalpindi where Benazir Bhutto was assassinated last
December. The city has also seen numerous bombings and suicide throughout the campaign. So these
people came here today with a real sense of fear and trepidation about how safe it is to come and

In a country where the car bomb in the weapon of choice, it seemed extraordinary that vehicle
traffic was allowed to get so close to crowds of would be voters.

PAKISTANI VOTER TWO: All the people are scared of suicide bombers. That's why there are fewer
people here to vote.

PAKISTANI VOTER ONE: Everybody is afraid. Suicide attacks are a scary thing and it's all the blame
of this Government. It wasn't happening before.

PETER LLOYD: The two main Opposition Party's say President Pervez Musharraf's allies are planning
massive fraud. They've vowed to protest in the street if they suspect foul play. In turn, Musharraf
has warned that dissent wont be tolerated.

Pakistan's political crisis is far from over.

In Rawalpindi, Peter Lloyd, Lateline.