In a last minute surprising move the Bush administration has hired Democracy International to serve as monitors in order to ensure the Pakistan election tomorrow is conducted in a fair and honest manner. It previously contacted the Carter Center and the Asia Foundation but these groups declined to serve as monitors on grounds it was impossible to ascertain the honesty of the election due to security conditions. Democracy International has never served as a monitor for elections. Mark Scheider, of the International Crisis Group, blasted the Bush decision claiming it was unreasonable to “go in two or three days before the election and expect to be able to make a judgement.” He said this contradicts “lessons learned in 25 years of election monitoring.”
Meanwhile, back in Pakistan, Asif Zardari, co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party, which polls estimate will receive close to 50% of a fair vote, said the Musharraf government is harassing party workers, several have been killed and installations raided. The last minute Bush decision raises questions. Is it an attempt to lend international support to Musharraf if questions arise concerning the honesty of the election?