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Benazir – Why the world needs democracy in Pakistan

An Op-ed by Benazir Bhutto printed in Christian Science Monitor today, what one must note that Benazir has ranted about everything but the Judiciary, I share this piece here only to expose the hypocrisy of our so called leaders who hail themselves as the upholders of Democracy in Pakistan

By Benazir Bhutto
Benzair BhuttoDictatorship fuels extremism, which reaches far beyond Pakistan

The world has rightly welcomed President Pervez Musharraf’s retirement as Army head and announcement that emergency rule will end on Dec. 16. However, a crucial question remains. Is Pakistan heading toward a democratic future? Parliamentary elections are currently scheduled for Jan. 8. Among many worrying signs of corruption, the election commission is biased and not acting on complaints of fraud.

Yet if credible elections are not held, it will have dangerous consequences for Pakistan and the rest of the world community: Extremism will continue to grow, putting everyone at risk. The world must act to prevent this. It must insist on free and fair elections in Pakistan.

President Musharraf’s last term in office demonstrated that dictatorship has fueled extremism. The tribal areas of Pakistan have turned into havens for militants to mount attacks on NATO troops in nearby Afghanistan. Lack of governance has led to the expansion of extremism into settled areas of Pakistan.

Democracy offers the best hope of containing extremism. Yet democracy depends on a fair electoral process and an independent election commission willing and able to implement Pakistan’s electoral laws to prevent vote fraud. That is not happening.

“Improvised” voting stations, a pseudonym for ghost polling stations, dot practically every parliamentary constituency. Electoral lists prepared with financial assistance from USAID are fatally flawed, with more than 10 million unverified and missing names (clearly enough to “win” or “lose” an election). The sanctity of any future ballot is doubtful against reports that district returning officers have been ordered to disperse 20,000 ballots already marked in favor of pro-government candidates. These bogus votes will be “cast” through the process of double voting in the “improvised” voting stations in ballot boxes that are translucent rather than transparent.

Mayors continue to control guns and police and government resources and are using them shamelessly to campaign for government candidates. The election commission has asked for “a report” on such malpractices but has taken no concrete efforts to stop them. Politically motivated officials have been placed in charge of the civilian intelligence services and key state posts to manipulate the elections further, although election laws demand that such officials be neutral. An assistant to a former chief minister has been made a returning officer to preside over elections in his area. This complaint is being “looked into” as well, which is simply a fancy way of buying time and doing nothing.

Punjab Province, which elects more than half of Pakistan’s parliament, chooses 148 of the members through direct elections, excluding reserved seats for women and minorities. Of these seats, it is believed that 108 have been marked for rigging for government-backed candidates.

By the time all such reports of fraud come in from across the country, the elections will be over.

On top of all this, the media remains gagged, opposition leaders remain imprisoned, voter lists and voting locations have not yet been provided to opposition parties or to the general public in final print or electronic format, and no effort has been made by the pliant electoral commission to regularly consult with political parties on these issues. There is also no plan in place to ensure that votes counted at voting stations will be delivered to local consolidation centers without being manipulated en route. The National Reconciliation Ordinance, which provides for an immediate consolidated count, has been suspended.

Put quite simply, the elections are being stitched up to give the country a continuation of the outgoing government one that failed to prevent the spread of militancy, extremism, and terrorism. Major terrorist attacks, including the latest plot discovered in Germany this summer, tracked terrorists’ footsteps back to Pakistan’s northern areas.

Unless there is a change in the status quo, the past will repeat itself. But that change can only come when the world community puts its weight behind fair elections and its faith in the people of Pakistan.

Musharraf sent a delegation to the US last week to talk to the Bush administration and members of Congress about the current situation. This visit was only meantto feign progress and deflect criticism.

Musharraf wants the world to believe that the coming election, though not perfect, will be “good enough for Pakistan” given the country’s difficult circumstances. But the current circumstances are of the regime’s making. Those in charge can and must do much better on this count.

The international community must send a clear message that it will not be an accessory to this coming crime. It must not wait to see if the elections on Jan. 8 are free and fair. It must insist on a minimum set of benchmarks to be met for the election to be recognized as free and fair. If the benchmarks are ignored, the international community must be prepared to signal its displeasure to the Musharraf regime in specific, tangible ways.

Flawed elections will worsen instability in Pakistan as civil society and political parties protest. Imposing international restrictions after the fact will be fruitless and only deepen anti-American sentiment.

At the very least, America can and should prod Musharraf to give Pakistanis an independent election commission, a neutral caretaker administration, and an end to blatant vote manipulation.

America is the world’s most powerful democracy. By standing up for democracy at this critical time, Washington can give this nuclear-armed nation an opportunity to reverse the tide of extremism that today threatens not only Pakistan but the larger world community as well.


10 Comments

  • YesSir |

    Everyone is cashing on the term ‘extremism’…

    and our ‘leaders’ have to show how much ‘anti-extremism’ they are in order to secure their approval and hence the commanding seat in Pakistan.

  • Dr.Tariq |

    As the notion of this discussion is that “Why the world needs democracy in Pakistan, Is is because this evil concept (democracy and its mutations) is being advocated as a champion and a guaranteed remedy for a prosperous world order, society and life. Furthermore all international organizations, conventions, charters and western governments claim to be following these ideals and see it as a universal cloak that all nation states have to wear. However, anyone who opposes it (democracy) stands against the advancement of a civilised world and is deemed to be an enemy for future success. Unfortunately many Muslims have also fallen into this trap of jumping onto the bandwagon by calling for democracy with or without understanding its severe consequences. Interestingly democracy and dictatorship are two sides of the same coin, democracy being the civilized face of a dictatorship.

    The Greek idolaters believed that the god ruling earth was democracy (collective will of humans) and the god that ruled in the heavens was called Zeus (the Roman equivalent was named Jupiter or Jove). The Christians went one step further and tried to prove it (secularism & democracy) from their distorted scriptures by saying Render unto Caesar what is Caesars and render unto God what is Gods (theo-democracy).

    A practical but realistic demonstration of manmade laws is illustrated chronologically in the table below. The timeline shows the absurdity and farcical nature of the homosexuality laws in England. The goal posts have gradually shifted from one end of the spectrum (criminal) all the way to the other end (norm).

    YEAR LEGAL STATUS REWARD/PUNISHMENT
    1290 Illegal Buried alive
    1300 Illegal Burned alive
    1533 Illegal Hanging until dead
    1885 Illegal Maximum 2 years in prison
    1967 Legalised Only for 2 men over 21 in private
    1994 Legal Age of consent reduced from 21 to 18
    1998 Illegal Failed to promote gay education in schools
    2001 Legal Age of consent reduced from 18 to 16
    2003 Legal Government proposes legal gay marriages

    The formula for the Muslims is easy and simple to follow:

    Verily the absolute right of legislating is for none but Allah [ 6:57]
    The judgment or order of Allah cannot be annulled or set aside. His judgment is ultimate and His order is final. Allah decides what is good and bad, and what is true or false and nobody else. Thats why the world does not want Islam and a state that would Implement Islam because once an Islamic state (caliphate) is established it would pose severe threat to the interests of those capitalists who are ruling the world. As Islam present a complete alternative to all other system and is well able to solve the problems of the humanity, therefore the west see it as an Ideological rival and as we know that the current war on terror is in fact war against Islam and when they say Extremists in fact they mean those people who are working to bring back Islam as system having its own Ruling system, Economic system, social system, judicial system, foreign policy and Education policy.

    In short it would not happen as long as we would keep ourselves engage in Democracies and dictatorships. Once we understand what is democracy, the origin of democracy, its contradiction with Islam and why they west is so keen to establish it everywhere only then we would be able to understand there trap and would work for our own system which is khilafah.

    Only khilafah state can protect our blood, dignity, wealth, Unity and above all our Aqeedah. Only khilafah can and will re-unify the ummah into one state and will implement Islam as a complete system upon the ummah. So it is the only solution of our problems as well as an Obligation like prayers upon our shoulders.

    Thanks and Jazakallah

  • Wajid |

    “The National Reconciliation Ordinance, which provides for an immediate consolidated count, has been suspended.”
    What??

  • punjabi |

    Dr Tariq, thansk for the excelent article

    One wonders about benazir. Will her Gods of Democrasy Protect her From the the God of Shariah.

    Will the the B52 Bommbers and the Nuclear weopons of Nato protect her form the God of Shariah.?

    Will Bush and the Eurpeaon Christian Master race give heaven?
    Do they even have a heaven were she can go to now?

  • Payday Advance |

    This story on zir – Why the world needs democracy in Pakistan : Teeth Maestro is awesome reading for any reader to experience. Thank you for such super information!

  • MOHD ADIL |

    Every politician in pakistan is driving his politics in terms of “first serve self”..we need to be aware of that once a politician fulls his bank accounts he/she will definitely look 4 the people…same was the case with Mohtarma benazir bhutoo, this time she cameback 4 money??not at all…PAKISTAN!

  • MOHD ADIL |

    What is democracy??when a dictator says he is running the country in full democracy??

  • Blog Karachi |

    Well, I think its almost impossible that FULL democracy is the solution. We dont work right ourselves unless someone is on our heads

  • guYasir |

    What do you think about democracy is a solution for Pak peoples, no way. They are 2 corrupted leaders whose past records got enormous charges yet they are ruling over us in guise of democracy. I think democracy is a ‘charade’ an illusion as well
    I’m also a reader of Henry Makow Ph.D. a Magnificent Makow whose articles worth reading like below:which will tell you each and every conspiracy being created by west in guise of democracy or feminism or communism or socialism.. Must read below articles exposing democracy.
    http://www.savethemales.ca/001102.html
    http://www.henrymakow.com/000456.html
    They paki politicians are perverse, dupes, traitors, liars, impostors, opportunistic and 3rd world Freemasons alike to their west politicians.