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Posts tagged with: Election

Brave Citizens confront water cannons & tear gas in Islamabad

islamabad protest under water cannon blast

Islamabad Protestor being dragged away by polie

Macleans Canada Reports: Police using tear gas and water cannons clashed today with hundreds of lawyers to block them from reaching the barricaded house of Pakistan’s deposed chief justice. About 1,500 black-suited lawyers marched on the residence of Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, the detained top judge of the Supreme Court, who was fired by President Pervez Musharraf three months ago. After the lawyers tried to breach the barbed-wire barricade, hundreds of police drove them back by firing tear gas and shooting water cannons from a fire truck.

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AAJ TV Blackballed again because of Live with Talat

Live with Talat shut downA day back around 11:30 at night on Feb 6th AAJ TV was suddenly taken off the air in the regions of Rawalpindi and Islamabad and according to AAJ it was blocked up to Chakwal 60 km away. Live with Talat was due to air a discussion with Nusrat Javeed while some sources say that the shut down could also have been due to Aaj live broadcast of Nawaz Sharif’s Lahore address in which he accused that the militants had shot down the army helicopter.

AP Reports that prior to the broadcast, Musharraf’s spokesman Rashid Quereshi had advised Aaj that it should not allow Javed to appear on any of its programs, Aslam Dogar, an assignment editor for the station.

The international media rights group Reporters Without Borders accused state-run Pakistan Television of bias against parties opposing Musharraf. The media group noted Musharraf had promised fair and free elections when Pakistanis choose a new parliament Feb. 18. “The absence of fairness in the coverage provided by the only national terrestrial broadcast channel shows that this is not yet the case,” the group said in a statement Wednesday
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Benazir Bhutto’s Will – I May Have Been Harsh

Guest blog by temporal from Baithak

I have been writing about Benazir Bhutto’s will. Finally they released it today.

The key sentence there is “I would like my husband Asif Ali Zardari to lead you in this interim until you and he decide what is best.” (emphasis mine)

[Pending certification of this will by handwriting experts and other issues circulating such as a hefty life insurance on her taken by Zardari I feel a tad of remorse at the harsh stand I took here. I had blamed her for treating the party as her jaagir – her personal fiefdom and acting all haughty and feudal.]

Her will is dated October 16, 2007 just two days prior to her departure for Karachi. From here we learn:
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Pakistan pushing out IRI Election Observers

In what continues to be trumpeted as a free and fair elections it seems the Government of Pakistan is keen to push out International Republican Institute (IRI) from properly monitoring the elections. IRI is a U.S. democracy-building institute funded by the US Congress and it has come on record to say that it is being pushed out of Pakistan by President Pervez Musharraf’s government, who is refusing to issue new visas for the institutes top two Pakistan based US National officials or even allow the group to perform exit polls at upcoming parliamentary elections.

The Pakistani government has told the two U.S. citizens responsible for IRI public-opinion polls that they will have to leave the country in three weeks because their visas will not be renewed, said Robert Varsalone, the country director for IRI. The government tried to end their visas in January but extended them a month after coming under diplomatic pressure. “We’ve been told essentially, this is it for you,” said Varsalone, who has been in Pakistan more than a year. “We always tried to be honest brokers of information.”

In other news IRI has also refused to send in more staff over to Pakistan as it seems the Government of Pakistan cannot assure them security and safety. So by the looks of it, these elections are to be monitored by two people who are already under the gun lest they make a fuss about the election results, in all likelihood we are definitely in for a sham elections.

Zero Fervor for Elections

By Farooq Tariq spokesperson for the Labour Party Pakistan

Thirteen days to go and yet there is no election excitement. There are no street corner meetings or large-scale public rallies. The main leadership of those parties participating in the elections plan no national tours. It could be the most colorless election in the history of Pakistan.

The reasons are simple: General Musharraf wanted it that way. Before announcing the date for the general elections, he imposed martial law. He arrested over 10,000 political activists and lawyers, removed all the top judges, amended the constitution and got himself elected as “civilian president. He wanted five more years in power.

General Musharrafs allies made all the arrangement to “win the elections before announcing the date. They wanted a snap election where the opposition would have no time to mobilizing its base. It was to be a general election held without an independent judiciary, with a dependent Election Commission, and with repression still alive. This was the ideal circumstance for a “win.
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Pakistan’s Forgotten Man

By Aitzaz Ahsan for Newsweek February 11, 2008

In the past months, as the crisis in Pakistan has worsened, key figures in the Bush administration, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have spoken out about the need for free and fair elections and have condemned extremism. Yet they’ve continued through-out to support the man who poll after poll show to be the least popular public figure in Pakistan, less so even than Osama bin Laden: President Pervez Musharraf.

Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte went so far as to call Musharraf an “indispensable ally” just days after the general declared de facto martial law and suspended Pakistan’s Constitution.

All the while, U.S. officials have ignored a man who lives a mere stone’s throw from Musharraf. This man’s exclusion might seem understandable: barbed wire surrounds his home, the phone lines are cut and the gate is padlocked from the outside. Yet he is no dangerous criminal. Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is the chief justice of Pakistan. He’s also one of the most popular figures in the country, according to recent polls, and its best hope for returning to a democratic path.
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Humor: Jat in London

Hit and run by Shakir Husain
Published in The News

Pakistan is lucky enough to have a visionary leader in the form of`Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain whose family has sacrificed so much for the people of Pakistan. So when this great leader’s younger brother Wajahat Hussain and three nephews were detained under the anti-terrorist law at Gatwick Airport in London for several hours upon their arrival from Barcelona I felt insulted. I was then taken on an emotional roller coaster when they were deported from London for Pakistan without even being given an opportunity to shop at duty free. Here are the blood relatives of one of the greatest politicians the world has ever seen, and they are treated in this terrible manner and deported without even being allowed to pick up their favourite Marks & Spencer sweaters. Oh the cruelty.

Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain for those of you who need an introduction is the president of the PML-Q, and had a brief stint as prime minister as well. His cousin Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi served selflessly as the Chief Minister of Punjab and the family has given up so much to serve the people of Pakistan. But Chaudhry Shujaat will go down in the annals of history as one of the finest orators that this country has ever produced. Had Chaudhry Shujaat gone to Oxford, he would surely have been the president of the Oxford Union – I hear that Oxford is planning to give the veteran politician an honorary degree. What most people don’t know is that Chaudhry Shujaat is the honorary Consul General for South Korea, and as always he has underplayed his role in creating thousands of jobs created by the famed yellow cab scheme during the Nawaz years. The humble Chaudhry Shujaat and how he has served selflessly, yet the British Government treats his relatives like suspected terrorists? How low can Her Majesty’s security forces stoop?

On Friday the foreign office summoned Britain’s Acting High Commissioner Ray Kyles and conveyed their “concern” and “displeasure” over the way, Chaudhry Shujaat’s brother and little nephews were treated by British anti-terror police. What they should have communicated to the acting high commissioner was that Chaudhry Shujaat was actually our very own Winston Churchill and the high regard that the people of Pakistan have for him. The foreign office should also demand that the transcript of the interrogation should also be made public so that the people of Pakistan know that the Chaudhry brothers and their family are as clean as the driven snow. And that no attempt to tarnish their impeccable reputation will succeed, as the people of Pakistan know that all their dealings are above board.
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The Youth Revolution in Pakistan

I share with you an email written by Masood Sharif Khan Khattak who discusses the youth revolution in Pakistan following the ordeal faced by a few young activists of Student Action Committee in Lahore

Assalam Alaikum All,

The younger generation of Pakistan gives me a lot of hope that all may not be lost as yet. I salute Raheem-ul-Haque and Saeeda Diep for their courage and conviction (READ THEIR ORDEAL). I salute every single one of you striving for Pakistan’s freedom.

While I am proud of every single one of you I am quite ashamed of the fact that my generation has more or less failed to provide the younger generation a Pakistan wherein instead of feeling the need of distributing fliers demanding freedom in all respects (which truly is a basic human right that need not be asked for in a civilised society but be ensured by the State on its own) you all should have been striving towards self improvement at this stage of your lives.

There should have been jobs out there for which you all should have been competing knowing that your connections in this haphazard society of ours is not going to improve your lot but your competency will.

My generation should have built a Pakistan for you all which should have been free of guns, drugs, bombs and fighting of all sorts so that all of you could have happily indulged in your career building rather than being beaten by robotic so called security guards and the police itself for trying to salvage Pakistan from going deeper down the pipe.
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Kiyani & Musharraf, all seems not to well

A picture is worth a thousand words

Musharraf and Kiyani
Credit: WhizNews

Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Kayani and President (retired Gen and former COAS) Pervez Musharraf sit together during the missile training launch of Ghauri (Hatf V). According to analysts, their postures and body languages indicate “all’s not well” between the two. It has been reliably learnt that while President Musharraf was on his overseas tour last week, Gen Kayani had had more than one meeting with a select group of anti-Musharraf journalists at his GHQ in Rawalpindi. He told them, “Feb 18 elections are crucial” for the country.

Re-Arrest of Leaders of the Lawyers Condemned

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has issued a very strong statement regarding the re-arrest of Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan & Justice (R) Mr.Tariq Mehmood today specially after setting them free barely 24 hours ago

Senator (R) Iqbal Haider Secretary General of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has strongly condemned re-arrest of Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan & Justice (R) Mr.Tariq Mehmood as well as ban on entry of Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan in Sindh. These actions of the authorities are not only illegal, unconstitutional but are in utter abuse of authority and expose once again the vendetta, vengeance of all authorities from the President of Pakistan to the lowest level acting under his dictates.

It is obvious that all these authorities are petrified of the Lawful and Peaceful struggle of the lawyers, civil society, human right activist and their leaders for restoration of the Judiciary, its independents, rule of law which is imperative for holding Free & Fair elections and protection of the democratic institutions.
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Kurd & Tariq Mehmood released, but others will remain under House Arrest

It is being reported that Lawyer Ali Ahmed Kurd in Peshawar and Justice Tariq Mehmood in Quetta have been released from their house arrest which has lasted for around three months imposed by the Pakistani Government. Caretaker Information Minister Nisar Memon said the moves were aimed at creating a good atmosphere during this month’s parliamentary elections. “We want to keep the peace and order before elections and maintain a conducive environment so that people could effectively use their right to vote,” Memon said. IHT

But he said that Chaudhry and other judges would not released from house arrest. “Their movements have been restricted for their own security otherwise they are free men,” he said. “They are issuing statements and write letters.” – truly brilliant Mr. Memon, free men to write letters [I think he suggests the letter that was written by the CJP and ‘smuggled out’ of the house by CJP’s daughter amongst her books] yes let me hear that again free men to write letters but not to move around – GEEZ who are we trying to fool here

We definitely celebrate the release of the two leading figurehead icons Ali Kurd and J. Tariq Mehmood but wonder why does Musharraf have to play these game of charades with us. It is definitely an attempt to reduce the pressure exerted by the American which has recently suggested to Musharraf to correct some grave technical issues before running into the self proclaimed free and fair elections.

It is also shocking that the super power of the world [United States of America], the upholder and enforcer of democracy through out the world, is ready to accept the rigged elections, its definitely a shocking statement to make, which was mentioned in more of a casual statement without much details to the press, one can only imagine what might actually be brewing up inside to force the US government to publicly accept a sham democracy on Feb 18. I can only speculate a horrendously rigged elections comparable to the 98% voter turnout in the referendum of 2002 where the election commission of Pakistan showed a 71.5% voter turnout with a 97% vote in favor of Musharraf. If this is the type of elections we hope to achieve then so help us God
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Saint Benazir Bhutto…?

Guest Post by Salahuddin Farooq

Its not a taunt, its reality which Im observing in all type of media and as well in general conversation of people. This scenario reflects the mentality of our nation. Our nation has only two images in their minds relating to their leaders, either they praise someone by ignoring negative aspects or they criticize someone in each and every condition. They have not balanced illustration of any personality.

I dont wanna give old examples; I just want to discuss recent issue of Ms. Bhutto assassination. This accident is terrible for Pakistan and heartbreaking for most of the Pakistanis who believe in unity of Pakistan. But what is the behavior of media and mature people after this catastrophe? To express sorrow with the family and party workers of PPP is a very good thing. But please make these things with a balanced view.

A very famous quotation, “learn the lessons from mistakes is not applicable for Pakistan. OK I admit that 70% of our nation is illiterate, what about to remaining 30..? Every person is promoting PPP at his best without mentioning the major mistakes of Ms. Bhutto. This directly implies to give green signal to new leadership of PPP to follow the blunders made by their late leader.
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How to Steal an Election Without Breaking a Sweat

This writeup was posted on the People’s Resistance network, this might be more of a general report but quite literally the upcoming elections in Pakistan have all the signs to be fully rigged. Pakistan fails on each and every condition mentioned here

From Abuja to Islamabad, autocratic regimes have become adept at manipulating “free and fair elections to stay in power. Heres how they do itand how to stop them.

Control the process

How its done: Its much easier to steal an election when there are fewer checks on executive power and no legal framework for resolving disputes. When the laws are vague, election commissions are often powerless to confront a powerful central leader. “When you have a partial constitution that doesnt lay out the details of election law properly, thats a problem, says Chris Hennemeyer, director of African programs at the election-monitoring group IFES, adding, “Its a tried-and-true technique to stack the electoral commission with your cronies.

Real-world example: Kenyas constitution invests an enormous amount of power in the executive branch. This allowed President Mwai Kibaki to create a vast system of patronage throughout the government based largely on tribal ties. The head of the Electoral Commission of Kenya, Samuel Kivuitu, has recently admitted that he was pressured by the presidents office to announce results before he could verify their authenticity.

How to stop it: An independent judicial branch that is capable of arbitrating electoral disputes without partisan pressure is a must. It also helps if polls are managed by independent election commissions rather than interior ministries.
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Imran Khan Brings Anti-Musharraf Effort to US – NPR

Imran Khan in the USA short audio report on The Morning Edition of NPR talks about Imran Khan’s visit to the United States. He continues to argue for the independence of Judiciary and the need to pressure the American lobby to stop patronizing one man as the sole savior for all problems in Pakistan. Hear the discussion here


Morning Edition, January 25, 2008 · A former cricket star who leads one of Pakistan’s minority parties spent time in Washington this week meeting with lawmakers and speaking out against U.S. support of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Imran Khan, an international celebrity since his days as a sports star, leads a much smaller party than that of Benazir Bhutto, the leader who was killed last month. But in Pakistan, he’s nearly as well known as Bhutto. And he says that next month’s elections there won’t be real, if they happen at all.
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An Open Letter to EU, US, UH & COMMONWEALTH

Guest Blog by Sami Khan

An open letter to “All Concerned

European Union consists of 27 member states with complete civil liberties for the citizens one can only dream of in the third world country like Pakistan. But it is very unfortunate that whenever there is a minimal chance of establishing democracy in our country, of course not like yours, international community somehow supports or I would say does not take strong steps as should be taken against those elements that derail the process of democracy.

As a citizen of a sovereign country, one should not be writing to you in first place but when I see international community very keenly taking interest in our local affairs, it does not make me feel I am citizen of a sovereign country. Therefore, I am compelled to draw your attention toward the very serious and deteriorated situation in our country.

Whenever a military dictator like the present one in our country invades and conquers his own country after every 10 years, international community which includes US, EU, UN, Commonwealth come out with kind of lip service only. International community condemns, threatens and warns dictators of dangerous consequences before and after the occupation (coup), at the end here comes a very big “BUT and that BUT works as oxygen for dictators and that lip service gives us the impression of International communitys support for the unconstitutional and illegal steps of dictators.
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