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Mainstream, Vol XLVI, No 10

Rule by Military can No Longer be Tolerated

Sunday 24 February 2008, by Asma Jahangir

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan applauds the people of Pakistan who overcame several obstacles and despite pre-poll rigging gave a clear verdict in favour of democratic governance. Regrettably, this opportunity was not available to the electorate in Balochistan. Boycott of worthy political leadership from contesting the elections and their call for staying away from the polls have not reflected a genuine will of the people of Balochistan to the 2008 polls. This will pose a challenge to the federal parliament as well as the future provincial government of the Province.

The people of Pakistan have placed a monumental responsibility on the winning political parties to ensure that the democratic transition takes place. In addition, there are expectations from the new Parliament to restore the deposed judiciary, improve law and order and to solve the economic crisis. The new government will also be expected to find imaginative ways of combating terrorism, without putting the lives of non-combatants in danger. This will require policies and actions built through consensus. Unilateral and rash decisions of the past have not curbed the rise of ‘Talibanisation’ but added to the miseries of the people. A large number of people have been displaced, lost their lives and been regularly exposed to violence.

Pakistan’s civil society, too, must continue to play their role and maintain closer interaction with political parties.

The HRCP would also like to express its gratitude to all foreign observers, who travelled to Pakistan to monitor our elections. Despite the threat of violence, these observers came to ensure that the true voice of the people of Pakistan could be heard. The message is clear; rule by the military can no longer be tolerated, whether in the name of combating terror or in the garb of delivering a transition to democracy.

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