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Musharraf's party wins in rigged POK polls: More terror coming?

Musharraf's party wins in rigged POK polls: More terror coming?

Author: Samuel Baid
Publication: The Free Press Journal
Date: August 4, 2006
URL: http://www.samachar.com/features/040806-features.html

In a puppet show, called elections in occupied Kashmir, the Pakistan Army pulled the strings to declare its favourite party, the Muslim Conference, the winner. This show was staged after General Pervez Musharraf had repeatedly talked of self-governance for Kashmiris and promised that his Government would be a neutral observer of the election process.

But what happened was shameless, brazen rigging of the elections in favour of the Muslim Conference (MC) by the Pak Army/ISI. The party won 21 of the 41 seats elections which were held on July 11. Later, it got seven of the eight reserved seats and three Independents joined it.

Thus, in an Assembly of 49 seats, the Muslim Conference has got 31 a two-third majority. Other parties accused the Pakistan Army of helping the MC to win. Rigging POK elections is a child's play for anybody ruling Islamabad.

Thus the MC wins when Islamabad is under the control of the Army, Muslim League or both as at present. Similarly, the POK Pakistan People's Party wins when its parent party rules Islamabad.

Therefore, the choice of the people of POK is never reflected in election results. It is for this reason that there are no public protests when an "elected" government in POK is removed by Islamabad. Direct elections in POK are held for 41 seats.

Of them, 12 constituencies for Kashmiri refugees are spread all over Pakistan. These 12 constituencies are like a sitting duck for Islamabad. Majority of these seats go to whomever Islamabad wants. This time six of the 12 seats went to MC and two to the MC dissidents who fought as Independents. They have come back to MC.

Two to Muttehida Quami Movement (MQM). The MQM, of self-exiled Altaf Hussain, is a partner in the Musharraf Government at the Centre. Complainants of rigging allege that in many constituencies the ballot boxes were already stuffed before the voters reached the polling booths.

It does not mean that elections for the remaining 29 seats in POK are allowed to be free and fair. No. There was massive deployment of the Army jawans and Para-military forces purportedly for maintaining law and order. But the opposition parties allege they were there to ensure MC's victory. The PPP fears this would be a dress rehearsal for the next year's general elections in Pakistan.

In this puppet show (POK elections) former Prime Minister Barrister Sultan Mehmood Choudhry emerged as a comic character. With a child-like faith in Islamabad he betrayed and split his own PPP and set up People's Muslim League to establish the control of the Pakistan Muslim League in POK.

POK's then President General Anwar Khan and Pakistan's powerful Choudhry brothers who control the country's politics supported him. He was very sure he would be the next Prime Minister of POK.

During electioneering he "promised" the people that the elections would be fair. But the election results shell-shocked him. He didn't know how to react when his party got only one seat. A member of his party told the Dawn "It is an open secret that they (the Federal Government) had marked constituencies and got the results of their choice to bring the MC in power."

It is said that the Federal Government changed its mind about Sultan Mehmood Choudhry when he included in his party manifesto a promise to remove certain controversial provisions from the Constitution. One of them bars candidates from participating in the elections if they do not subscribe to Kashmir's accession to Pakistan.

For the July 11 elections, 72 nationalist Kashmiris were kept out of the election process on this count. In the 2002 elections, 80 nationalists were barred.

It is said General Musharraf changed his mind about MC just a week before the elections after MC President Sardar Attique Khan and his father and party supremo Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan met him.

After this meeting, General Musharraf said he supported MC. To further prove that Islamabad was with MC, Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, in his capacity as the Chairman of POK Council, appointed three MC men on the Council as advisers.

It is not known what assurances from Attique and his father made General Musharraf change his mind about MC. But it can be assumed that with the embezzlement record of Sardar Qayyum and his son Attique, the Pakistan Army will be in congenial company while spending foreign gifted billions of dollars for the rehabilitation of October 8 earthquake victims.

There is charge against Qayyum that he made crores of rupees in the name of POK as the base camp for terrorism in Kashmir. Attique, now chosen as the Prime Minister of POK, had promised to work for the "liberation" of Kashmir. It may sound very farfetched to suggest that there could be a link between elections in POK and the 7/11 Mumbai bombing.

We have seen Sardar Qayyum's varied colours in the past more than five decades depending whether he was in or out of power. In Power, he makes Kashmir accession to Pakistan his mission.

Out of power, he talks of liberation of POK from Pakistani yoke. Now when his son has been made the Prime Minister of POK, he may revive his old slogan of making POK the "base camp" for the "liberation" of Kashmir. That is, more terrorism.

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