Pakistan's parliamentary elections are scheduled for February 18, but they have already been rocked by violence and turmoil. The Parliament, which elects the president, selected Pervez Musharraf to another term last October, but the General instated emergency law and dismissed the Supreme Court judges who would have opposed his confirmation. Meanwhile, candidates for Parliament and party leaders, including former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, were stumping in anticipation of early January elections. Musharraf was confirmed by the new Supreme Court, stepped down from his army post, and lifted the state of emergency. Then, on December 27, Bhutto was assassinated.

Clearly, the country as a whole faces major challenges this week. But Christians (who make up less than two percent of the Pakistan's population) and other minorities face unique political obstacles of their own. Nasir Saeed, director of CLAAS UK (Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance, and Settlement), explains their dilemma.

The parliamentary elections in Pakistan had almost entered the final phase. The election commission had completed dealing with allegations and objections against the candidates and published the final ballot list. I didn't see anything that could have derailed the parliamentary election scheduled for January 8.

Now, shortly after the end of the 40 days of mourning for Benazir Bhutto, we are about to try again, although the vacuum created by her death cannot be filled. Her presence was a guaranteed win for some politicians but a threat for others.

All the parties, including the PPP (Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party), have already distributed party tickets, which nominate candidates to campaign under the banner of a particular party. I am very concerned ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

July/August
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Current IssueHow to Find Hope in the Humanless Economy
How to Find Hope in the Humanless Economy Subscriber Access Only
Robots could take half of our jobs in the next decade. Here’s why Christians have nothing to fear.
RecommendedUS Prepares to Deport Hundreds of Iraqi Christians
US Prepares to Deport Hundreds of Iraqi Christians
American veteran faces forced return to dangerous homeland that two-thirds of his fellow believers have fled.
TrendingKay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Kay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Through God's work in our lives, we've beaten the odds that divorce would be the outcome of our ill-advised union.
Editor's PickWhy the Modern World Is Making Us Miserable
Why the Modern World Is Making Us Miserable
Mark Sayers asks us to look to the Bible’s steadying influence in an era of cultural turmoil.
Christianity Today
Disenfranchised in Pakistan
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

February 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.