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Musharraf regime seeks to stave off collapse
Thursday, September 20, 2007 :A lawyer representing Pakistan’s US-backed military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, told the country’s Supreme Court Tuesday that “if” Musharraf is elected to a second term as president, he will resign as chief of the armed forces before taking the oath of office. Opponents of the regime were quick to condemn Musharraf’s pledge as a ruse aimed at subverting the country’s constitution and the democratic will of the Pakistani people.
For months Musharraf has been laying the groundwork for a phony election, in which the sitting national and provincial assemblies will be called upon to constitute a presidential college and to elect him to serve as president until the fall of 2012.
Such a process would be a mockery of democracy. Not only were the current assemblies chosen in elections held five years ago, those elections were themselves fraudulent. Pakistan’s military rulers placed numerous anti-democratic constraints on anti-government parties, while the military-sponsored Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam), and to a lesser extent the MMA, a six-party alliance of Islamic fundamentalist parties, benefited from state patronage and outright ballot-rigging.
The general has previously broken commitments to give up his post as military chief. In Dec. 2003, Musharraf secured the support of the MMA for a package of constitutional amendments legitimizing his 1999 coup, expanding the president’s powers, and giving the military a permanent and commanding voice in the shaping of government policy, in return for a promise that he would step down as head of the military by the end of 2004.Read More