Presidential Elections 2007: A Nation at Gun Point?
By: Athar Osama

With the date for the Presidential Elections now being announced for Oct 6, 2007, the year-long speculation about whether or not General Musharraf will (or will be able to) seek another term in office is coming to an end. Barring any fresh legal or political challenges which are likely, but not certain, Presidential Elections  WILL be held on Oct 6, 2007 and in all likelihood, General Musharraf, in violation of the Constitution of Pakistan, WILL still be holding another “office of profit”, namely, his position as Chief of Army Staff at the time of his re-election.

Whether or not he will give up his uniform after–and only if–he is re-elected as President of Pakistan for a second term is really immaterial. Having used every potential trick under his sleeve to first usurp power from its rightful owners–the people of Pakistan and their democtracally elected representatives–and then legimitize his rule through farce–and perhaps rigged–Presidential Referendum and then a democratic facade, the General is now well on his way to using his uniform to threaten, bully, and harrass all his political opponents and to-be defectors from his own party–but most importantly, the people of Pakistan–to “elect” him to office once again.

If one decides to discount the increasingly irritated and hostile public opinion, as evidenced by the Lawyer’s Movement earlier this year, and the increasingly independent Supreme Court as a result, the election of the President on October 6th seems like a foregone conclusion.  It would, however, be rather unwise and shortsighted to discount these recent developments so easily. In this Special Edition of Understanding Pakistan, we look at the Politics of Wardi in the lead up to the proposed Presidential Elections in 2007. More specifically:

  • Justice (Retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed, one of the few honorable Justices of the Supreme Court of Pakistan who refused to take an oath of allegiance under General Musharraf’s Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) and chose to retire instead, in article written in May 2007, talks about the Constitutional Position on Presidential Elections. While   some of what Justice Ahmed speculates about is now established reality, his article is refreshing as it is informative about the issues that confront our Supreme Court today…
  • Salman Akram Raja, an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, takes a look at the issues involved in the election of the Incumbant and the challenges that Supreme Court faces in the ongoing legal battle today. The author presents an interesting set of legal arguments–including how legal precedence–by this very Court has restricted the options that the Court now has to rule against the dual office of the President.
  • Syed Sharifuddin, a Constitutional Advisor to the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, again addressing the issue of General Musharraf’s re-election brings to bear some international legal practice and evidence to the question. It represents an interesting set of arguments and mix of legal jugglery to dissuade the current regime from following the Constitution and stand-down or avoid adopting extra-legal means to once again change the Constitution.
  • Athar Osama, in a “History of Failure: The Rise and Fall of Military “Experiment” in Pakistan” argues against the futility of electing a President in Uniform and carrying on with the painful and useless process whose greatest affectees are the Pakistani people themselves.
Before we provide Understanding Pakistan’s own assessment of the likely Politics of Wardi, we leave you with this somewhat humorous but mostly ironic parody of General Musharraf’s insistence on clinging onto his Khakis. One particular thing that caught my eye as I watched this was a placard that said: “Apne Mulk ko Fatah Kerna Bund Kero”
To Watch the Video, visit
Returning back to our own analysis, we believe that the potential challenges to the President’s Election can come from four different sources, namely, legal, political, people, and institutional (the army). We describe each in more detail and rate these according to their likelihood and impact.

  • Please read about Understanding Pakistan Study Circles–our way to bring grass roots democracy to Pakistan–and consider creating or joining ones ( here)
  • A New Poll to Select a Leader who has had the most negative influence on Pakistan (Have Your Say!)
  • Please visit our Bookshelf Section for an extended bibliography on Pakistan’s history ( here)
  • Also: Ayub Era II – National Security and Foreign Policy Challenges – 3/3 (1962-65)
  • Also: Extensive Coverge of 1965 War Between India and Pakistan: The War in Kashmir, The Ground War
  • Throughout this week and next: Continued Coverage of Presidential Elections
For now, to read this, and other, posts, please visit the website ( ) and visit often as we update regularly  (at least twice a week) with new opinions and commentaries

Athar Osama, PhD (Public Policy, RAND)
London, United Kingdom
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