[JURIST] UN special envoy for human rights defenders [official website] and co-founder of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan [advocacy website] Hina Jilani told US lawmakers in Washington Thursday that Pakistan's parliamentary elections scheduled for January 8 have already been rigged and that there was no point in sending election monitors or observers to them. Jilani, an outspoken Lahore lawyer and the sister of fellow Pakistani human rights advocate Asma Jahangir [JURIST report] said that the elections lacked credibility because rights had been curtailed under President Pervez Musharraf's declaration of emergency rule and the process was technically under the supervision of a newly-appointed judiciary which, she said, lacked public confidence. AFP has more.
Pakistan's main political parties have all decided to participate in the poll, a move opposed by the country's lawyers [JURIST report], who are still angry about the November 3 suspension of the constitution and the effective ouster - and later replacement - of the country's Supreme Court and High Court judges. Bar leaders like Supreme Court Bar Association President Aitzaz Ahsan have since shifted to urging electoral candidates to press for reinstatement of the pre-emergency judiciary.