Musharraf should make a peaceful exit: Asma Jahangir

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New Delhi, Feb 21 : Terming the elections in Pakistan a referendum against President Pervez Musharraf, noted human rights activist of that country Asma Jahangir said that he should make a "peaceful exit".

"It (general election) is a referendum against Musharraf and the military rule," Jahangir, who is chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said here.

Jahangir, who described Musharraf as a "double crosser", said, "Musharraf should make a peaceful exit".

"You came through a referendum and would you like to go through a referendum?" she asked, and added, "This is a referendum against you".

Jahangir, who was answering questions after delivering the second Walter Sisulu memorial lecture at Jamia Millia Islamia University, said the Pakistani people have voted for the military regime to be ousted.

Recalling the lawyers' movement in the country, Jahangir said there was resistance within the bar association when Musharraf sacked five judges and confined them to house arrest in 2001, but it spilled over on the streets when the military regime sacked Chief Justice Iftikar M Chaudhry last year.

She said judges are at present being kept under "enclave arrest" and they cannot move out of their house. Thousands of people have been picked up by the intelligence, Jahangir said, calling Pakistan's presidency a "mischief-making machine".

"Lawyers played a magnificent role and now it is time for political parties to play that role," Jahangir said, adding, "We must allow them to do so".

She expressed concern over the future of Parliament saying, "this man (Musharraf) can dissolve parliament. We have to take this power away from him".

Judges have to be reinstated for the functioning of an independent judiciary, she said, adding if it was not done then it would send the wrong message.

On growing Jihadi elements in Pakistani society, she said: "The new government have to review the whole policy on war on terror. They have to take people along with them".

ANI

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