Category Archives: Pakistan Political Report

Pakistan Political Report: Freedom of Speech and the Judiciary

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Speaking at the inauguration of a new judicial complex in Rawalpindi last month, Pakistan’s Chief Justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, emphasized that judges “must be in a position to render transparent and impartial decisions,” noting that, while judges cannot legislate, their judgments set standards that serve as guidelines for lawmakers and regulators.[1] One area in which Pakistan does not have well-established jurisprudence or regulatory framework is freedom of speech. As such, Pakistan’s Supreme Court has an opportunity to establish clear and coherent guidelines for the constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech.

 
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Pakistan Political Report: Voter Registration – Obstacles and Opportunities

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) released new voter rolls last week after extensive review and comparison against national databases.[1] The ECP claims that during the process it removed 35 million unverifiable voters and added 36 million new voters to a national electronic database.[2] Civil groups and the media have expressed concern that the voter rolls do not include a significant number of eligible voters, especially women and the rural poor.[3]

These concerns notwithstanding, the government of Pakistan does appear to be making honest and transparent efforts to reduce vote fraud and increase legitimate voter participation in the upcoming general elections.  That this process is being carried out transparently and in cooperation with opposition political parties suggests that, while the outcome of next year’s elections may be hard to predict, their legitimacy will likely be difficult to question.

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Pakistan Political Report: July 21st Special Election (NA-151)

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Multan Polling StationWith general elections expected early next year, Thursday’s “by-election” for the National Assembly seat vacated by former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was watched closely as a bellwether for what a post-2013 Pakistani government will look like. Based on the results of Thursday’s vote, it may look a lot like the present government.

 

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Pakistan Political Report – Reopening the GLOCs

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OVERVIEW

DCC Approves Reopening of NATO Supply RouteThe agreement to reopen the ground lines of communication (GLOCs) into Afghanistan will result in short-term gains for both the US and Pakistan, but does not represent a fundamental change in bilateral relations. Richard Hoagland, Deputy Chief of Mission for the US Embassy in Islamabad, described the status of relations after the apology as resumption from the point where they have been left prior to the Salala incident last November.[1]

While Sec. Clinton’s apology did not result in a radical transformation, it did open a way forward. Vali Nasr, dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, characterized the agreement as validating the path of diplomacy over confrontation, and Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Sherry Rehman, acknowledged that there is “a long road ahead,” but expressed hope that “both sides can use this opportunity to build a path to durable ties.” [2],[3] Unfortunately, building that path will not come without resistance.

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