ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN, OCT. 28 -- The party of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto said today it may launch nationwide protests of what she called "massive election fraud" by her opponents.
A right-wing coalition opposing Bhutto easily won Wednesday's national elections and Saturday's provincial legislative balloting, dashing Bhutto's hopes for a comeback following her ouster two months ago.
With 463 of Saturday's 483 races decided, Bhutto's party was virtually wiped out in eastern Punjab, the largest and wealthiest province and the alliance's stronghold. It was effectively sidelined in the Northwest Frontier Province, where it had ruled before Bhutto was dismissed.
Bhutto and her party also appeared in danger of losing their overwhelming majority in her home province of Sind. But it was unlikely that Sind would be decided before next week.
Bhutto has refused to accept results of either Wednesday's or Saturday's voting, alleging "sophisticated and systematic" vote rigging by the Islamic Democratic Alliance.
The alliance denied the allegations, and the charges were not supported by international election observers.
"At the moment the people are angry," Bhutto said in an interview. "This is all very distressing. What do you tell people?"
Bhutto called on candidates from her party in both contests to come to Islamabad on Saturday to map out a strategy.
"We will decide then whether to launch a movement against the massive rigging or to play it cool and accept the opposition role in the National Assembly," Khurshid Kasuri, secretary general of Bhutto's party, told a news conference.