Transparency International (PNG) regrets the announcement of a return to martial law in Pakistan along with the dismissal of the Chief Justice and installation of a new Chief Justice said to be more closely aligned to the ruling military junta. The imposition of military law has seen the imposition of house arrest on many opposition leaders including well known cricketer Imran Khan and there are fears for members of the TI chapter in Pakistan or indeed any organisation which challenges the actions of the ruling junta. Pakistan has moved in a only few days away from the long awaited, and regularly promised, return to democracy with elections next January
TI PNG points out that there has been a sustained and very public campaign against the military rulers in Fiji by some members of the Pacific Forum. These members are far less vocal or quick to criticise when Pakistan, a much larger and more strategically influential Commonwealth country, reinforces its military rule and overturns the rule of law. The announcement of martial law comes at a time when the Supreme Court was expected to rule on the legality of the election of the President.
TI calls on the PNG Government as a Government of a leading Pacific and Commonwealth nation and a practising democracy, as well as other members of the Forum to condemn this abandonment of the path to democracy in the strongest terms. Democracy is fundamental to a just, open and transparent society and the re-imposition of military rule will delay the return to democracy, possibly by twelve months or more according to international press reports. This is apparently unacceptable to the population of Pakistan and clearly, given their opposition to such behaviour in Fiji, should be unacceptable to many governments in the developed world.
We urge PNG citizens and their elected leaders in Government to heed the dangers of treating democratic processes with contempt.
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