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Pakistan Election News: Pakistani general election, 2008

General Elections are scheduled to be held in Pakistan on 18 February 2008 after being postponed from 8 January 2008, the original date to elect members of the National Assembly of Pakistan, the lower house of the Majlis-e-Shoora (the nation's parliament).[1][2]

In the wake of state of emergency declared on 3 November 2007 by Chief of the Army Staff Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's Information Minister Tariq Azeem said that elections are now "on the back burner", with no date set.[3] However, it was later stated they would be held as planned.[4] Musharraf stated on 8 November 2007 that the election would be held by 15 February 2008.[5] He later called for the election date to be on or before 9 January 2008.[6] Even later, he suggested 8 January 2008 as the election date.[7] Following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the Election Commission announced after a meeting in Islamabad that a January 8 vote was no longer possible and the election would take place on 18 February.

Pakistani general election, 2008Politics and government of
Pakistan

* Constitution

* Government

President
Pervez Musharraf
Prime Minister
Muhammad Mian Soomro

* Legislature

Senate
Chairman of the Senate
National Assembly
Speaker
Deputy Speaker

* Judiciary

Supreme Judicial Council
Supreme Court
Chief Justice
Federal Shariat Court
Chief Justices
Provincial High Courts
Federal High Court
District Courts

* Political Parties

Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal
Muttahida Qaumi Movement
Pakistan Muslim League (N)
Pakistan Muslim League (Q)
Pakistan Peoples Party
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
Minor Parties

* Subdivisions

Provincial Governors
Balochistan
N.W.F.P
Punjab
Sindh
Capital Territory
Tribal Areas
Azad Kashmir
Northern Areas

* Local Government

Districts
Cities
Union Councils

* Issues

Foreign relations

Issues

Code of conduct

A code of conduct for the election has been proposed by the Citizens Group on Electoral Process (CGEP) to the Election Commission of Pakistan and the political parties. This suggests that all stakeholders should agree a set of rules as early as possible, in order to provide a level-playing field for a fair general election.[9]

Terrorism

There have been concerns from the United States that Pakistan has not been doing enough to assist in the war on terrorism. Musharraf has rejected such claims, stating "The fight against terrorism and extremism, whether it is al-Qaeda or Taliban, can never succeed without Pakistan’s cooperation and Pakistan is the only country that has delivered the maximum on both. We are tackling them with 30,000 troops. If there is anybody who is not doing enough, it is others who are not doing enough."[2] Opposition parties, especially the religious Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal coalition, are opposed to Pakistan's role as ally of the United States in the War on Terrorism.[10]

Fairness of elections

A number of opposition parties have called for the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf to ensure free and fair elections under a caretaker government.[11] On 8 July 2007, opposition parties issued a declaration of their demands for the elections.[11] The parties included are the Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League (N), and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal. Regarding the election, the declaration had the following clauses:[11]

* The formation of a caretaker government of national consensus, in consultation with the opposition parties to hold free, fair and honest elections. Its members will not contest the elections.

* The appointment of a neutral Chief Election Commissioner and members of the Election Commission in consultation with the opposition parties.

* The dissolution of local governments three months prior to the holding of the general elections.

* The caretaker government of national consensus shall appoint officers with no political affiliation in Election Commission, federal, provincial and district governments.
* Repeal of all discriminatory election laws, to ensure even playing fields and the implementation of fair election proposals.

* Implementation of the jointly agreed criteria for holding of fair and free elections.

* To keep under review the steps being taken to ensure free, fair and honest elections and to collectively through consensus take any decision which may include a boycott of elections in the extreme case at the appropriate time.

* To firmly resist collectively the machinations of the regime to postpone the general elections by imposing emergency or under any other pretext.

* To struggle collectively for the removal of dictatorship from Pakistan and confine the role of the armed forces to that prescribed in the Constitution of 1973. It demands immediate withdrawal of military personal from all civilian departments and posts. It demands closure of the political cells of all the military, security and intelligence agencies.

Parties

Small and negligible parties opposed to Musharraf have joined together in a loose political alliance called All Parties Democratic Movement; the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the largest opposition party, is not a part of this alliance.

As Musharraf has stated that the elections will be held under the 2007 Pakistani state of emergency, at least three parties have stated they will boycott such elections, fearing that they would not be free and fair: the Pakistan Muslim League (N), Jamaat-e-Islami and Tehreek-i-Insaaf.[12]

The opposition parties jointly stated that the elections could not be fair, as most opposition candidates were in jail under the state of emergency and thus unable to file nomination papers for the election.[13]

On 23 November 2007, PPP members were given the go-ahead to register for the elections, while still reserving the decision to boycott the election.[14]

Imran Khan, the Tehreek-i-Insaaf leader, restated his call for a boycott on 23 November 2007, the day the APDM was to decide on whether to boycott the elections jointly.[15]

Upon his return to Pakistan on 26 November 2007, Nawaz Sharif stated he would run in the elections only if the state of emergency was lifted before the polls,[16] and that he would not serve as Prime Minister under Musharraf.[17] However, Sharif's candidacy was rejected on 3 December due to his prior criminal conviction.[18]

On 10 December 2007, Sharif and Bhutto finally announced they would not boycott the election, despite their fears that the election would be neither free nor fair.[19]

In a November 2007 poll, the PPP lead with 30%, followed by Sharif's PML-N with 25% and Musharraf's PML-Q with 23%. Tehreek-e-Insaaf had 6%, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) 4% and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) 2%.[20]

The 2008 Pakistani election was dealt a great shock on 27 December 2007 when Benazir Bhutto was assassinated while leaving a rally in Rawalpindi. Bhutto's assassination raised many questions as to whether the general election would be postponed. Following the fatal attack, Pervez Musharraf held an emergency meeting with other government officials, but stated that "no decision had been made on whether to delay the national elections."[21]

Bhutto had "become an appealing solution" to United States officials frustrated with President Musharraf's failure to restore democracy to Pakistan, The New York Times said.

Sharif stated after the assassination that his party would boycott the election.[22] He later stated that his party would take part if Bhutto's PPP contests the election.[23] The PPP then decided to name Bhutto's son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the new party leader with his father Asif Ali Zardari as co-leader, as asked for in Benazir Bhutto's testament. The party also decided that it would contest the elections and stated that the elections should be held as planned.

The Pakistani Election Commission announced after a meeting in Islamabad that a January 8 vote was no longer possible and the election would take place on February 18.



More News About Pakistan Elections...
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  1. Elections in Pakistan
  1. Election 2008 in Pakistan
  1. Pakistan Election 2008 Results for PML-Q
  1. Pakistan Election 2008
  1. Pakistani general election, 2008
  1. Pakistan Election 2008 Prediction - February 18 2008
  1. Pakistani presidential election, 2007


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