• Short Summary

    In Pakistan, voters have been streaming to the polls for the country's first local elections since the imposition of military rule more than two years ago.

  • Description

    GV & SV Green Mosque in Rawalpindi with traffic going past polling station and lines of voters (6 SHOTS)

    GV Women voters wearing veils outside polling station with other voters

    GV Voters waiting to cast their ballots (3 SHOTS)

    GV Polling official seated next to ballot box with red rose party symbol painted on; officials with horse party symbol on ballot box (2 SHOTS)

    SV Polling officials with large cardboard hat on head, surrounded by voters

    GV Street decked with posters and party banners (3 SHOTS)

    Pakistan's Election Commission is empowered to ban political parties from contesting the general election on November the seventeenth. General Zia says parties considered to oppose the 'idealogy' of Pakistan, or which bring the armed forces into disrepute, will not be allowed to take part. Since the execution of former Prime Minister Bhutto there has been a surge of support for his Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-- now headed by his wife. Officials sources say the P.P.P. is likely to be disqualified form taking part in the coming general election.

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    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: In Pakistan, voters have been streaming to the polls for the country's first local elections since the imposition of military rule more than two years ago. But the elections have been marred by the killing of nine people in clashes between rival candidates. Police have arrested more than eighty people.

    SYNOPSIS: In Rawalpindi, there was a large turnout on Tuesday (25 September) as voters lined the streets to cast their votes. The elections are to choose district and municipal councils. They were organised by Pakistan's present military ruler, General Zia ul Haq, who came to power in a coup which deposed then Prime Minister Zulfikar ali Bhutto. Mr Bhutto was executed in April this year.

    The turnout was substantial, particularly among women. Many said they regarded the election as an attempt to improve local services and amenities. The role of the new councils is still unclear. But General Zia says they may be given the power to collect religious taxes and distribute funds for local development. General Zia regards the elections as the first step towards establishing civilian rule in pakistan -- and general elections are scheduled for November the seventeenth.

    Voting in Rawalpindi was peaceful. But in Pakistan's densely populated provinces of Sind and Punjab there were clashes between supporters of rival candidates. Among the nine dead was a policeman, who was clubbed to death while attempting to break up a scuffle.

    Pakistan's more than one hundred political parties are officially banned from contesting the local elections. But voters say many so-called 'independent' candidates have strong political affiliations.

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