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Pakistani panel says President reelected with 97% of votes

The National Election Commission said Thursday more than 97 percent of voters who took part in a referendum on President Muhammad Zia ul-Haq's regime had backed a continuation of his rule.

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It said 62 percent of those eligible voters had cast ballots, and that 75 of the 80 electoral districts had reported. The votes had not all been counted in the remaining five districts, it said. Official figures were not expected until Saturday.

Zia's opposition, which was not permitted to campaign, said the vote was meaningless.

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