Oct 25, 2007

HRW on Musharraf's intimidation of Pakistan Supreme Court

“Musharraf should publicly state that he will accept the decision of the Supreme Court and withdraw the threat of martial law,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government is attempting to frighten the judiciary into submission and is holding Pakistan, its constitution and its people hostage to Musharraf’s desire to cling to power.”

Events since 1999 coup by General Musharraf is as follows:

2003: Musharraf pledged to cede one of the posts by December 2004. But he publicly reneged on this pledge a year later.

Oct 6 2007: Musharraf was elected President by parliament that is about to finish their term in November. Pakistan’s opposition parties resigned their seats or boycotted the election in protest, leaving only Musharraf’s supporters, who enjoy a majority in the electoral college, to elect him.

Oct 16, 2007: Pakistan Supreme is hearing case of challenge of Musharraf election as the President.

Under the Pakistani constitution, a candidate for president cannot run for office until two years after retirement from a military position. Musharraf is presently the head of Pakistan’s army.

“Musharraf seems to be giving the Pakistani people an impossible choice: ‘democracy’ if he succeeds in his bid to stay in power or martial law if the judiciary tries to prevent him from remaining in office,” said Adams. “After eight years of military rule, Pakistan needs legitimate parliamentary and presidential elections to get back on the path to genuine democratic rule.”

Human Rights Watch called on Musharraf’s international supporters, particularly the US and UK governments, to urge an immediate return to constitutional civilian rule.

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