Pakistan – The Presidential Elections

By | December 18, 2021

In the meantime, in the first months of 2007, General Musharraf touches an all-time low in popularity and not only for foreign policy issues. The general, in fact, in February suspends from all office and has arrested, accusing him of corruption and embezzlement, the judge of the Supreme Court Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, a hero of the press and television for his campaigns against violations of human rights and excessive power. of the police and secret services. The images of the judge placed under house arrest trigger a wave of protests in the country: street protests, but above all by lawyers and judges, as a sign of solidarity. Demonstrations in favor of Chaudhry continued for months, culminating in a violent clash in May between demonstrators and police which, in Karachi, resulted in 30 deaths and an unknown number of injured. In the end, in July Musharraf is forced to reinstate the judge in his post. But to disturb the president’s already troubled sleep, in June were added the demonstrations and protests of Islamic fundamentalists, in particular the students of the Lal Masjid, the Red Mosque in Islamabad. For months, they have been trying to persuade music and record stores to close their doors, attacking cars driven by women by beating wretched motorists, destroying cassettes and CDs, beating men and women wearing Western clothes. With a not insignificant variant, however, with respect to their integralist confreres in the frontier provinces: that is, bringing the girls to the fore. The more than 2,000 students of Jamia Hafsa, the women’s madrasa associated with the mosque, in February, armed with sticks and Kalashnikovs, prevent the demolition of an old mosque. Shortly thereafter, they seize the tenant of an alleged brothel and kidnap, albeit to release them shortly after, six Chinese accused of practicing ‘immoral activities’ in their massage parlor. At school, the girls were reportedly brainwashed and trained to carry out suicide bombings and to serve as ‘human shields’ in case of attacks on the mosque. The police, in effect, stormed the mosque in June, claiming that inside it there are armed rebels in the company of at least a couple of commanders of Harkat-ul-Jihadi-i-Islami, the organization Al Qaeda-linked terrorist charged with the murder of Daniel Pearl and several members of Jaish-i-Mohammed, another armed group. The battle between the students and the police goes on for more than a week, causing a real massacre.¬†For Pakistan 1998, please check

Official figures speak of 180 deaths, but according to unofficial reports in the Red Mosque more than 500 women and children were killed. Journalists are prohibited from entering the hospitals where the bodies of the victims were transported: disclosing the number would not be convenient for the president or his government. In the weeks and months that followed, the police and the army were subjected to numerous attacks by Islamic fundamentalists, which, according to the military authorities, were believed to be reprisals for the attack launched by the government on the mosque. With the Lal Masjid affair, the president regains momentary credit in the eyes of the international community and the US, making us forget the construction of a new nuclear power plant financed by China and its double game in foreign policy. But in the eyes of the population it definitively destroys its already tarnished image of a ‘good dictator’. However, many think that the events of spring 2007 and the subsequent series of real or alleged attacks by Islamic fundamentalists are only the skilful orchestration of a game aimed at distracting public opinion from the real problems of Pakistan: popular discontent. increasingly widespread, the economy in pieces, unemployment skyrocketing, the revolt, suffocated in blood, of the provinces considered ‘second class’, such as Balochistan or Sindh, penalized in favor of Punjab and extorted at both administrative and military. A game aimed above all at demonstrating in the eyes of the international community the complete ungovernability of the country in order to ‘force’ Musharraf to declare, despite himself, a state of emergency. In fact, in all this, the term of president of the first democratic dictator in history is about to expire and Musharraf must absolutely be re-elected. However, things are not so simple, also because, in the meantime, the terms of the parliamentary mandate of the Prime Minister and the Chamber are also expiring, and the United States, as well as all the Pakistani people, are pressing for, democratic elections and Musharraf renounces his double and unconstitutional mandate as president and head of the Armed Forces. The presidential elections scheduled for October 2007 weigh, from the beginning, serious exceptions of unconstitutionality. In order for Musharraf to be allowed to run, substantial (and illegal) changes have been made to the electoral order and voting takes place despite many MPs having resigned in protest. The president wins hands down, but the uncertainty of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the admissibility of the candidacy continues to hang on the result.

Pakistan General Musharraf