[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] Wednesday slammed Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [official website] for threatening and intimidating the Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] in the days leading up to the court's decision on petitions challenging Musharraf's bid for re-election as improper due to his dual role as president and army chief. In a statement [press release], HRW said:
The Pakistani government should end attempts to intimidate the country's Supreme Court as it hears legal challenges to General Pervez Musharraf's controversial October 6 re-election...The court is scheduled to announce its decision in the case by the end of next week [Xinhua report].
Musharraf should publicly state that he will accept the decision of the Supreme Court and withdraw the threat of martial law...The government is attempting to frighten the judiciary into submission and is holding Pakistan, its constitution and its people hostage to Musharraf's desire to cling to power.
On Monday, a Supreme Court of Pakistan Justice said that martial law continues to "haunt" the country [JURIST report], despite efforts to move past the issue. Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday said that the court has been unable to forget official threats, although Justice Javed Iqbal insisted last week that such statements would not affect its pending decision [JURIST reports]. Earlier this month, Musharraf won an overwhelming victory [JURIST report] in legislative elections for the presidency, according to unofficial results. The Supreme Court ruled before the election that the controversial ballot could proceed even though Musharraf continued to serve as army chief, but it barred the Election Commission of Pakistan [official website] from officially declaring a winner until the high court rules on whether Musharraf was in fact eligible to run under the circumstances. His current term expires November 15. ANI has more.