Although he has been under house arrest since shortly after his return to Pakistan while facing trial on charges of arranging the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, former Pakistani Army Chief and President Pervez Musharraf was given a lifetime ban from holding political office by the Peshawar High Court:
The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Monday banned former military ruler Pervez Musharraf from politics for life.
The ruling came in response to an appeal filed by the former army strongman over the rejection of his nomination papers for the National Assembly seat in Chitral.
A four-member larger bench, headed by PHC Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and comprising of Justice Malik Manzoor, Justice Syed Afsar Shah and Justice Ikramullah ruled that since Musharraf had abrogated the Constitution twice, he could not be allowed to contest elections for either the National Assembly or the Senate.
Isn’t that interesting? In Pakistan, violating the country’s constitution as President gets a lifetime ban from politics, while in the US the same offense allows the perpetrator to open a Presidential Lie Bury.
Meanwhile, as the May 11 elections draw nearer, violence is escalating. Today’s New York Times reports on a suicide bomber who killed nine in Peshawar in an attack that seemed aimed at creating an overall climate of fear rather than attacking a particular target:
An attacker riding a motorcycle detonated his explosives near the suspected target, a police patrol car, on busy University Road during the morning rush hour, killing a police constable and several bystanders, said Faisal Kamran, a senior police official.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although the Taliban have carried out a relentless series of attacks against secular political parties around the country in recent weeks as part of a drive to influence the elections.
Officials in Peshawar said the attack on Monday was different in that it did not appear to target a specific party but aimed instead to foster a broader climate of fear during the campaign season.
Sadly, two of the people who died were Afghan trade officials who most likely were not targeted but merely were victims of the senseless attack.
As stated above, most violence ahead of the election has been aimed at political parties and candidates. It has become so widespread that Human Rights Watch issued a statement yesterday, calling for more protection of candidates and political parties:
Pakistan’s interim government should take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of candidates and political party activists at risk of attack from the Taliban and other militant groups, Human Rights Watch said today. Nationwide parliamentary elections in Pakistan are scheduled for May 11, 2013.
Since April 21, when election campaigning formally began, the Taliban and other armed groups have carried out more than 20 attacks on political parties, killing 46 people and wounding over 190. Earlier in April, another 24 people were killed and over 100 injured in election-related attacks.
That violence is continuing:
An independent election candidate and two of his relatives from Balochistan’s Jhal Magsi area were killed by unknown assailants on Tuesday night prompting the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to postpone the elections in PB-32.
According to the police and relatives of the deceased, Abdul Fateh Magsi was kidnapped on Tuesday (sic) night and his bullet-riddled body was found on Tuesday morning.
Presumably, Magsi was kidnapped on Monday evening and his body found this morning.
There is a long article in today’s Washington Post handicapping the elections. I’m pretty sure that this passage is delivered without a clue to the level of hypocrisy it drips:
On May 11, Pakistanis will choose the next prime minister in an election hailed as a landmark of democratic progress for a country ruled by the military for nearly half its 65-year history. Yet decades of tradition dictate why democracy has remained more of a concept than a reality.
Even as Pakistan prepares to witness its first democratic transition of power, elite political families, powerful landholders and pervasive patronage and corruption undermine the prospects of a truly representational democracy, political analysts say.
Coming on the heels of Sandra Day O’Connor finally admitting the US Supreme Court should not have decided the 2000 Presidential Election and as the Post and other pundits continue to hype the Hillary Clinton vs. JEB! Bush 2016 contest, what more proof do we need that the US is completely free of corruption and elite political families?
Perhaps proving that the recent attempts to prepare JEB! Bush for another political run was not the only movement in the world intended to rehabilitate a name with a nuclear level of toxicity, Pakistan’s “Father of the Bomb”, AQ Khan, has registered a new political party. The party is named Tehreek-e-Tahaffuz Pakistan, which Wikipedia says translates to “Movement for the Protection of Pakistan”.
The Express Tribune brings us more details on the party:
TTP Secretary General Chaudhry Khurshid Zaman said Khan had yet to decide whether to stand himself for election. He added that as the chairman, Khan would guide the party through the campaign.
“Our party has been registered, we will take part in the elections with full strength,” Zaman told AFP.
“The whole country is burning, price hikes, unemployment, the energy crisis, poverty and other heinous problems have made public life miserable.”
“Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has joined politics to change this face of Pakistan and he is the only hope. All other political parties have failed.”
Rohail Akbar, TTP spokesman, said the party would form an alliance with right-wing parties, but not those in government or main opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
We get a slightly different take on the issue of Khan himself running as a candidate from PakPakistan.org:
Dr. Khan said he did not plan, at the moment, to contest the election. However, further fruition of his political organization is “in the hands of God”.
It would appear that the good doctor was paying attention to the number of Republican Presidential candidates in the US who stated during the primary that God wanted them to run. More from this same source on the religious connection:
He is considered as the star in Pakistan, while the religious right acclaims him for having created the “Islamic bomb”.
I’m not really sure why the pundits are wasting time deciding whether Nate Silver is a wizard or a washed out baseball junky. There’s another fairly clear sign that insiders believe Obama will win this election: the number of 2016 GOP contenders who are shifting into campaign mode.
Chris Christie can be forgiven for boosting up Obama’s image as President the last week of the campaign. After all it makes him look Presidential. More importantly, it’ll ensure NJ gets lots of quick federal attention. (Though it did remind me that Christie used his coming out party at Mitt’s RNC to talk about Chris Christie.)
Jeb! was a bit more circumspect, spending a Mitt campaign appearance bitching that Obama blames his brother for … things his brother did.
“His entire strategy is to blame others — starting with my brother, of course,” Bush said during a campaign rally for Mitt Romney in Coral Gables, Fla. “Basically, he blames every possible thing rather than having the humility to be able to reach out and to find common ground.”
But the most amusing bid for the 2016 front-runner position comes from Paul Ryan’s unnamed backers (though Governor Kasich is quoted by name) inventing reasons why Ryan wouldn’t fulfill the other position he’s running for (Congressman)–including that his newfound popularity would fracture the Republican caucus or that Democrats would make him cast difficult votes. So, these anonymous advisors say, Ryan should instead write a book or become a Professor or lobby or think tank.
Anything for an opportunity to make public use of PowerPoint.
That is why some of Ryan’s biggest boosters are considering whether it wouldn’t be better for Ryan to resign from the House. He could write a book — “saving America” is a theme often bandied about — or teach at a university.
After all, on the campaign trail, Ryan is as much lecturer as campaigner. Aides routinely set up giant video screens so Ryan can use visual aids to walk audiences through the minutiae of budget politics. Graphs and charts are as common as yard signs and American flags at some events, with Ryan settling into his role as explainer in chief.
Yet curiously, those aides mention a 2016 Presidential bid at least 4 [Update--oops! 5] times in the article.
…future President Ryan?
…biding his time until a presidential run of his own.
a leading White House contender in 2016…
…forcing him to take sides on measures that could come back to haunt him during a presidential bid.
Ryan’s allies aren’t ruling out a bid for the top spot for their friend.
5 mentions of the next Presidential cycle, about a guy who’s on the ticket for this cycle.
And finally there’s this “accidental” email sent by Newt’s people:
“The truth is, the next election has already been decided. Obama is going to win. It’s nearly impossible to beat an incumbent president,” advertiser Porter Stansberry wrote in the email to Gingrich supporters. “What’s actually at stake right now is whether or not he will have a third-term.”
You gotta get an early start, I guess, if you’ll be 73 when you run again.
It’s all rather ghoulish, this campaigning to take over Mitt’s position as the party’s standard bearer before the race has even been called.
I don’t feel all that bad for Mitt, though. After all, he has participated in the weird custom of posthumously baptizing people, basically converting people after they’re dead. Republicans, apparently, follow the opposite strategy, burying you while you’re still technically alive.
I’ve been puzzling all week since this happened last Saturday (January 30, from the pool report).
President Bush 41, with former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush rolled up to the White House at 9:35 for a meeting with POTUS. At 10:09, the two emerged to fat, driving snow flakes. Responding to a called question, 41 said only, “Good meeting. Good meeting.”
But it does intrigue–nay, concern–me that Jeb! started preaching the gospel of bipartisanship shortly thereafter.
The capper came Thursday when, at the top of the 7 o’clock hour, right after Vice President Joe Biden, Bush made a rare network television appearance on NBC’s Today Show. The intensely private Bush’s interview with the overly familiar Matt Lauer rattled Florida political circles.
[snip]Bush’s comments about Crist’s support for President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan got the most attention, but his call for Democrats and Republicans to work together was the biggest clue to his national ambitions.
“I think that leaders on both sides of the aisle need to figure out where there is common ground and at least focus on that,” he said. “It’s one thing to give a good speech. The other thing is to invite people that don’t agree exactly with your point of view to build consensus.”