Imran Khan says UK and U.S. against democracy in Pakistan
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain and the United States cannot say they support democracy in Pakistan unless they call for the reinstatement of sacked judges, cricketer-turned-politician Imran Kahn said on Monday.
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf sacked senior judges when he imposed emergency rule on November 3.
Khan, speaking after Prime Minister Gordon Brown met Musharraf in London, said Britain and the United States were going against democracy and the will of Pakistan's people by backing Musharraf and not calling for the judges' reinstatement.
"They have gone against 160 million people and backed a dictatorship," Khan told a news conference. "It's important that Britain and America back the people of Pakistan, i.e. the democratic process, rather than backing one person."
The reinstatement of an independent judiciary was the only way to ensure free and fair elections, Khan said.
Khan's small Tehrik-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice) party is boycotting elections on February 18. Elections were postponed after the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on December 27.
"Neither Britain nor the U.S. administration have asked for the reinstatement of the judges," Khan said. "Who is going to decide if elections are free and fair?"
Earlier, Musharraf said at a news conference with Brown he would ensure elections were "free, fair and transparent".
Brown added: "President Musharraf has assured me that all electoral processes are in place to ensure transparent credible polling."
Khan said he was bemused by what he described as Britain and America's belief that Musharraf was their only hope against terrorism in Pakistan, since terrorism was on the rise there.
London and Washington see Musharraf as a valued ally in the fight against al Qaeda.
"What is quite apparent is that the British and the American governments have swallowed this line by Musharraf that he is the bastion against extremism and terrorism and if something were to happen to him the country would be swamped by hordes of extremists and terrorists," Khan said.
"The situation every day is going from bad to worse."
Khan, who led Pakistan to victory in the 1992 Cricket World Cup and founded his own party a decade ago, was among thousands of opponents and lawyers Musharraf detained after he imposed emergency rule late last year.
Although the politicians were released and emergency rule was formally lifted in mid-December, the Supreme Court Chief Justice and other sacked judges have not been reinstated.
(Reporting by Katherine Baldwin; editing by Andrew Roche)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this