Tue, Feb 12, 2008 - Page 5 News List

Opposition parties call for boycott of Feb. 18 election

AFP , KARACHI, PAKISTAN

An alliance of Pakistani opposition parties, All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM), which is boycotting nationwide Feb. 18 elections, told Pakistanis not to vote because it was nothing but a "fraud."

"People should boycott the election which is nothing but a fraud with the nation," said Qazi Hussain Ahmed, chief of the APDM, at a public rally in Karachi.

The APDM includes the fringe party of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan.

"No transparent election could be held until the reinstatement of the sacked judges and an independent election commission put in place," Ahmed said.

President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency on Nov. 3 and sacked chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and nearly 40 other top judges.

The crowd chanted slogans against Musharraf. "Remove Musharraf, bring true democracy," was one of many banners held by the participants of the rally.

A senior police official, Athar Rashid Butt, said about 2,000 people turned up to attend the APDM rally.

Ahmed said the Constitution had been severely distorted by Musharraf and the army.

"Particularly the provisions of the Constitution ensuring supremacy of the parliament and right of people to rule have virtually been clipped," he said.

"Our movement for an independent judiciary will continue till reinstatement of the sacked judges and removal of the hand-picked judges," another APDM leader, Mehmood Achakzai, said.

They also endorsed a resolution demanding an end to military operations against insurgents in the troubled northwest of the country.

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