Pakistan’s attorney general predicted massive rigging

FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images They say that only amateurs steal an election on election day. The groundwork is usually laid well ahead of time. This rule certainly seems to hold true for Monday’s parliamentary elections in Pakistan, and if you had any doubts, just take it from the country’s attorney general. Human Rights Watch has obtained ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
596427_080215_pakistan2.jpg
596427_080215_pakistan2.jpg

FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images

They say that only amateurs steal an election on election day. The groundwork is usually laid well ahead of time. This rule certainly seems to hold true for Monday's parliamentary elections in Pakistan, and if you had any doubts, just take it from the country's attorney general.

Human Rights Watch has obtained an audio recording of Attorney General Malik Qayyum talking on the phone to an unidentified politician in November. The politician seems to be asking Qayyum for his advice on what party he or she should run with for the election:

FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images

They say that only amateurs steal an election on election day. The groundwork is usually laid well ahead of time. This rule certainly seems to hold true for Monday’s parliamentary elections in Pakistan, and if you had any doubts, just take it from the country’s attorney general.

Human Rights Watch has obtained an audio recording of Attorney General Malik Qayyum talking on the phone to an unidentified politician in November. The politician seems to be asking Qayyum for his advice on what party he or she should run with for the election:

Leave Nawaz Sharif (PAUSE)…. I think Nawaz Sharif will not take part in the election (PAUSE)…. If he does take part, he will be in trouble. If Benazir takes part she too will be in trouble (PAUSE)…. They will massively rig to get their own people to win. If you can get a ticket from these guys, take it (PAUSE)…. If Nawaz Sharif does not return himself, then Nawaz Sharif has some advantage. If he comes himself, even if after the elections rather than before (PAUSE)…. Yes….” 

Given the context, it seems like “these guys” would refer to Pervez Musharraf’s party, the PML-Q, but it’s hard to tell for sure without the other side of the conversation. In retrospect, Qayyum’s prediction about Benazir Bhutto is downright chilling as well.

(If you speak Urdu, the original audio is available on HRW’s site as well.)

UPDATE: Qayyum says HRW’s allegations are part of a “conspiracy against Pakistan.”

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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