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31 May-01 June 2002

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CASABLANCA COUNCIL - Peace, Security, Development

31 May-01 June 2002


1. The Council of the Socialist International takes note of the report of the Pakistan Human Rights Commission pointing to malpractices in the recent presidential referendum. It notes that the opposition call for a boycott was successful in that the public participation in the referendum was very low.

The Council of the Socialist International reiterates to Pakistan’s military regime the need to immediately take steps to end military rule and hold free, fair and impartial general elections open to all parties and candidates, the release of political prisoners and the lifting of the ban on political activities.

The Socialist International stresses the need for the appointment of impartial international observers to monitor the coming October general elections, so that rigging the elections becomes impossible and any forgery will be duly exposed to the press and government officials.

2. The Socialist International voices concern about the continued imprisonment of Senator Asif Ali Zardari who is in his sixth year of prison without a conviction and who is in need of medical treatment for a life threatening spinal ailment. It is ironic that every time the Senator is granted bail by the courts, another criminal case is filed against him to prevent his release.

The Socialist International views with anxiety the maltreatment of PPP officials, namely Vice Chairman Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, Secretary General, Jahangir Bader and Mushtaq Ahmed Awan, who have been put behind bars without conviction, whereas those convicted by the courts on corruption charges have been released on "humanitarian grounds".

3. The Socialist International extends its deepest sympathy to the families of all the victims. It also stresses its active solidarity with the people of Pakistan in their struggle for the restoration of democracy.