CBS, CNN obtain secret dossier alleging Pakistani vote-rigging scheme
At the time she was assassinated, Pakistani opposition leader Benezir Bhutto was just hours away from meeting with two US lawmakers to hand them a dossier alleging that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) was plotting with its Election Commission to rig the upcoming elections.
According to CBS News, which has obtained a copy of the report, it "alleges widespread plans to stuff ballot boxes, rig voting lists, and intimidate, even kill, opposition voters."
CNN quotes the document more specifically as saying, "Where an opposing candidate is strong in an area, they have planned to create a conflict at the polling station, even killing people if necessary, to stop polls at least three to four hours."
The report, titled "Another Stain on the Face of Democracy," was compiled from Bhutto's own sources within the police and intelligence services. It was to be given to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), because Bhutto did not trust the Bush administration, which is seen in Pakistan as strongly backing Musharraf.
The dossier also accuses Musharraf's regime of diverting US aid into political dirty tricks, charging that "ninety percent of the equipment that the USA gave the government of Pakistan to fight terrorism ... is being used to monitor and to keep a check on political opponents."
Pakistani Senator Latif Khosa told CBS, "The ISI has set up a mega-computer system which has the capacity to hack any of the computers in Pakistan, and it is connected with the Election Commission of Pakistan's computers and therefore they will overturn the results." Khosa also charged that computers are being used to change the voter rolls.
Pakistan's government has called the allegations "ludicrous." Musharraf's top spokesman told CNN that he had never heard of the dossier but that the allegations were "just a pack of lies ... laughable ... ridiculous."
CNN analyst Peter Bergen noted, "There's no reason to believe that she was killed because of this dossier, because the people behind her killing almost certainly are al Qaeda and the Taliban, and they've got nothing to do with this election." That is the official Pakistani position, based primarily on allegations of intercepted phone calls from a pro-Taliban warlord who has denied any involvement.
Bhutto herself had accused Gen. Ijaz Hussain Shah, who has been named in the Pakistani media as part of the vote-rigging effort, of plotting to kill her. Shah, described as a close personal friend of President Musharraf, is a former ISI official who now heads the civilian Intelligence Bureau, which supplied many of the guards surrounding Bhutto's vehicle at the time of an earlier attempt on her life in October.
This video is from CBS's Early Show, broadcast on January 1, 2008.
This video is from CNN's Situation Room, broadcast on January 1, 2008.
This video is from CNN.com, broadcast on January 1, 2008.