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Pakistan: Musharraf Should Accept Ruling on Re-Election
(New York, October 24, 2007) – The Pakistani government should end attempts to intimidate the country’s Supreme Court as it hears legal challenges to General Pervez Musharraf’s controversial October 6 re-election, Human Rights Watch said today. Musharraf should publicly state that he will accept the decision of the Supreme Court and withdraw the threat of martial law.
Government ministers have repeatedly said that should the Supreme Court rule Musharraf’s election illegal, the military could suspend the constitution, impose martial law and fire the judges. On October 16, a day before the Supreme Court resumed hearings into the case, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dr. Sher Afgan Khan Niazi stated: “The imposition of martial law can’t be ruled out if the Supreme Court decides that President Musharraf’s re-election is invalid.”
“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.”
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.
On September 28, the Supreme Court dismissed legal challenges to Musharraf holding the office of army chief and president on technical grounds, but it did not rule on the merits of Musharraf holding both offices simultaneously. On October 5, in response to further legal challenges, the court allowed the election process to move forward but said that the results of the election would be prevented from taking legal effect until it finished considering the challenges. Read More