Tag Archives: Pakistan courts

Pakistan Political Parties Consider Electoral Boycott

Pakistan’s political opposition to the rule of General Musharraf is considering boycotting the upcoming parliamentary elections since they fear there will be no honest vote. Benazir Bhutto of the Pakistan People’s Party is discussing with her followers the possibility of refusing to take part in what most probably will be a rigged election. She notes that 25,000 ballots are being sent to each constituency which can be used to ensure victory for the Musharraf backed Muslim League. PTI Chief Imran Khan is beginning a hunger strike in protest to the suspension of the Constitution, but the Muttahda Majis-e-Amai(MMA) stated it would be involved in the election because boycotting would only ensure victory for the Muslim League.

Pakistan is confronting an unusual situation since apparently there are efforts on the part of Musharraf to stack the deck for his political supporters. Ordinarily, the Pakistan Supreme Court could halt such activities, but it has been replaced by Musharraf stooges. Chief Justice Abdul Dogar just ruled, “exceptional measures can be taken in exception al circumstances and the doctrine of necessity can also be applied.” In simple Pakistani, this means Musharraf can do anything he damn well pleases. Of course, this creates a dilemma for the Bush administration which backs the Pakistan leader while also claiming America wants democracy to triumph.

Benazir Bhutto’s Long March To Power In Pakistan

Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan People’s Party urged defiance toward President Musharraf over his imposition of martial law on the country. “The ball is now in the government’s court,” she said. “If General Musharraf wants to open the door for negotiations, he must restore the Constitution, retire as chair of army staff, and stick to the schedule of holding elections.” Even as she spoke with reporters, members of her party who were demonstrating outside of parliament were baton-charged and gassed by the police and military. Bhutto emphasized the importance of dealing with the crisis caused by Musharraf’s firing of judges who opposed him. “After the Constitution is restored,all judges will automatically be restored.” She insisted the Musharraf government must release imprisoned lawyers, judges and political activists. Ms. Bhutto asked members of all political parties to join with her on a long march on November 13 from Lahore to the nation’s capital where they will confront Musharraf.

The situation in Pakistan is now chaotic, but some good may emerge. Benazir Bhutto has emerged as a hero to many for her brave stand in support of constitutional government. This will assist her efforts to gain wide support in the population for new directions in the fight to deal with militant elements who increasingly are strong in northwest Pakistan. Bhutto must also end her prior involvement in graft and corruption which so damaged her ability to govern. Family members must be banned from government positions if Pakistan is to move forward.

China Supports Musharraf Actions On Martial Law

The Chinese government offered President Musharraf complete support in his imposition of martial law, removal of Supreme Court justices and arrest of hundreds of lawyers seeking establishment of constitutional government. Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Lui Jianchao said: “We believe the Pakistan government and people have the ability to solve their own problems and hope Pakistan could maintain stability and development.” After Musharraf initially announced postponement of elections for a year, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz yesterday said general elections would proceed according to schedule. As he spoke, a new Pakistan Supreme Court was sworn into office. It is expected they will support Musharraf’s bid for the presidency. Aziz promised there would be no censorship.

China continues its policy of cooperation with dictatorships because its economic development takes paf riority over other aspects of Chinese society. Musharraf apparently has backed down somewhat from his original draconian decisions to ignore elections. Most probably, with a stacked Supreme Court he feels comfortable imposing his will without fear of contradiction.

Arrests Sweep Across Pakistan!

The Pakistan daily, Dawn, termed President’s action of imposing a state of emergency “Musharraf’s Second Coup,” while the Daily Times said “It Is Martial Law.” Police and military fanned out across Pakistan to arrest opposition leaders and set up barriers to prevent entry into the Supreme Court or parliament. Hsma Jehagir, chair of Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission was arrested as were several key political opponents. Twelve of Pakistan’s Supreme Court members were sacked when they refused to go along with the state of emergency which they claim was unconstitutional. Benazir Bhutto returned to Karachi from her campaign and claimed Musharraf’s actions were “the blackest day in Pakistan’s history,” and that “the extremists need dictatorship and dictators need extremists.”

Musharraf Declares Martial Law!

President Pervezz Musharraf decided on Saturday to impose a state of emergency on Pakistan. “I fear that if timely action is not taken then God forbid there is a threat to Pakistan’s sovereignty.” He immediately purged the Supreme Court which had been challenging his illegal actions and took action against lawyers who have been leading the opposition to his increasing authoritarian regime. Musharraf had been waiting for the Supreme Court to decide if his latest presidential victory was legal, but apparently he decided that was too risky so martial law, in effect, made the courts powerless to act. White House National Security Council spokesperson, Gordon Johnson, said the action was “very disappointing” and urged Musharraf to hold parliamentary elections in January. However, the Pentagon announced “the declaration does not impact our military support of Pakistan’s efforts in the war on terror.”

Musharraf is using the Bush ploy of always citing terrorism as the rationale for denying human rights. The issue is not terrorism, but Musharraf’s desire for power. How does holding elections interfere with the fight against terrorism? How does closing down the Pakistan Supreme Court aid in the fight against terrorism? There is no connection between fighting militants in northwest Pakistan and the nation;s Supreme Court. President Musharraf fears the courts because they represent opposition to his one man rule.