Pakistani Americans Decry
Illinois: The Pakistan American Democratic Forum (PADF), a
grassroots organization founded in 1982 in support of Movement
for Restoration of Democracy (MRD), has expressed profound
concern about systematic pre-poll rigging in Pakistan.
“After showing contemptuous disregard for the Supreme
Court of Pakistan, the Musharraf regime is now openly engaged
in pre-poll rigging which will only further divide and weaken
the country,” said PADF President Dr. Mohammad Ashraf,
who has recently returned from Pakistan.
“Election Commission’s recent guidelines arbitrarily
suspending application of Article 63(K) to Gen Musharraf’s
candidature constitute a living proof of this rigging,”
political scientist Dr. Agha Saeed said.
Article 63(K) of the Constitution of Pakistan stipulates that
a person shall be disqualified from being elected as president
“if he has been in the service of Pakistan or of any
statutory body or any body which is owned or controlled by
the government in which the government has a controlling share
or interest, unless a period of two years has elapsed since
he ceased to be in such service.”
The PADF has also criticized the Bush Administration for its
“complicity” in trying to prop up a failed dictatorship.
The PADF statement reads:
Pre-poll rigging refers to all those procedural, administrative
and normative practices as well as tactical deployment of
government’s resources that favor some and disfavor
other parties and candidates.
It creates an uneven playing field, excludes stronger candidates
from competition, limits the chances of success for opposition
candidates through tactics such as gerrymandering, and uses
the enormous regulatory powers of the state to penalize those
who support opposition candidates. In essence, pre-poll rigging
is akin to using a loaded dice.
Gen. Musharraf's ever-increasing desperation is now observable
in pre-poll rigging through arbitrary changes in the applicability
of Articles 43 and 63 (K), excluding rival candidates by deporting
them, arresting them and humiliating them. His Chief Election
Commissioner has not only waived Article 63(K) but also given
only 16 days for any opposition candidate to get ready to
run against Gen Musharraf.
Daniel Markey’s essay “A False Choice in Pakistan”
in Foreign Affairs exposes the utter hypocrisy of the Bush
Administration. Giving full vent to the Bush Administration’s
preference for the dictator, Markey writes: "Trying to
force a rapid democratic transition in Pakistan would prove
However, if the mood of the Pakistani people is any indication
then the final outcome may by significantly different than
what is stipulated in the imperial dictation. Those political
parties who having received a wink and a nod from the US State
Department are now busy propping up a failed dictatorship
may not escape the final fate of the Musharraf regime.
The whole country, nay, the whole world is now looking at
the Supreme Court for redress. But the apex court alone cannot
defeat all internal and external intrigues, manipulations,
and deceptions. Every pro-democracy Pakistani, including every
pro-democracy Pakistani-American, must stand with the Supreme
Court in this decisive moment.