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> CGEP reviews polling-day fairness; demands:
   
  • Political Parties to Respect Public Mandate
  • Non-Interference in Formation of New Governments by the Presidency, by Local and Foreign Elements
  • Restoration of Judiciary
  • Musharraf to Step Down from Presidency
  • Independent Judicial Enquiry into Incidents of Poll-day Rigging
 
CGEP Statement
February 21, 2008
Islamabad

   

Islamabad, February 21; In order to analyse the polling day and post-poll process after February 18 General Election, the Citizens Group on Electoral Process – CGEP met in Islamabad today under the chairmanship of Justice (Retd.) Saeed uz Zaman Siddiqiui and issued the following statement.

 
 

“We salute the people of Pakistan for reaffirming their unequivocal commitment to democracy and constitutionalism. They have defeated all the conspiracies conducted in the pre-poll phase seeking to distort the popular will.

 
 

The polling process on election day was generally free and fair though serious complaints from a number of constituencies need to be addressed through an independent judicial process. The results may have been more reflective of the will of the people but for serious flaws both before and during the polls. There appears to have been a clear intent and plan by the Government to support its favourite parties by direct and indirect means. Fortunately, this plan was thwarted by the vigilance and the dedication of civil society and the media.

 
 

It is a welcome development that the results of the election have been accepted by all the major political parties.

 
 

It is now incumbent on all concerned, including, in particular, the leaders of the political parties, to ensure that the mandate given by the people to the new National and Provincial Assemblies is respected both in letter and spirit. The majority parties in each Assembly should exercise their right to form the governments without any pressure or interference from the Presidency, caretaker government, agencies and foreign governments.

 
 

The obligation of successful political parties to form coalition or consensus governments should not subvert the basic mandate given to them by the people of Pakistan.

 
 

The success of this post-election process, as a matter of the highest priority, requires corrective measures with respect to the restoration of the pre-November 3, 45%7 Judges to ensure a free and independent Judiciary that commands universal respect and acceptability. As a first step the judges and lawyers under detention should be freed and all their restraints on their movement removed.

 
 

Mr. Pervez Musharraf should consider that his ceasing to hold office at this time will greatly facilitate the commencement of a new genuinely civil, political and constitutional era.”

 
 

The CGEP members present at the meeting included Justice (Retd.) Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui, Former Chief Justice of Pakistan and Chairman CGEP; Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Asad Durrani, Former DG ISI/MI; Mr. Ghazi Salahuddin, Columnist, The News; Dr. Ijaz Shafi Gilani, Chairman, Gallup Pakistan Ltd.; Mr. Javed Jabbar, Former Senator & Minister; Justice (Retd.) Khalil ur Rehman, Former Judge, Supreme Court of Pakistan; Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Moinuddin Haider; Former Governor Sindh; Justice (Retd.) Nasira Iqbal, Former Judge Lahore High Court; Mr. Omar Khan Afridi, Former Chief Secretary NWFP; Dr. Parvez Hassan, Renowned Lawyer; Qazi Mohammad Jamil, Former President SCBA; Mr. Shahid Hamid, Former Governor Punjab; Mr. Shamshad Ahmad, Former Foreign Secretary; Mr. Tasneem Noorani, Former Federal Secretary; Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob; Executive Director, PILDAT and Ms. Aasiya Riaz, Joint Director, PILDAT.

The Citizens Group on Electoral Process (CGEP), a non-partisan body of eminent Pakistanis, facilitated by PILDAT, has been monitoring the electoral process since December 2006. The Group consists of former judiciary, lawyers, senior media persons, academics, analysts and former civil and military bureaucracy. The CGEP has been meeting on a monthly basis to review the electoral process and highlight its concerns through press statements and seminars, etc. The CGEP has been articulating its position through research papers and reports on electoral issues such as Electoral Rolls, Code of Conduct, Presidential Elections, Electoral Reforms, the NRO and the General Election, Score Card on Pre-Poll Fairness, Voting Behaviour and Rigging History of 7 Elections and the Independence of the Election Commission, etc. The Citizens Group also undertook Electoral Fact Finding Missions to Quetta, Attock, Gujrat, Sialkot, Thatta, and Badin, etc. All CGEP papers, publications, details of its activities and the list of members can be obtained at www.pildat.org/CGEP