Hundreds of foreign journalists set to cover elections -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Hundreds of foreign journalists set to cover elections

General Elections-2008 scheduled for Monday (today) would hopefully lead Pakistan onto the road to democracy. This was the consensus opinion gathered during an informal talk with foreign journalists who arrived in the city to cover the elections.

They are mainly focussing on three points – Pakistan is the only Muslim country that possesses nuclear capability, the aftermath of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and the country’s role in the war against terrorism.

Hundreds of journalists from European countries and independent observers have specially flown into Pakistan to monitor and cover the country’s most important and crucial elections.

The journalists of EU countries and state-sponsored monitoring teams, however, would be visiting polling stations in the vans of PID and SID and they would be barred from moving in sensitive places.

Lionel Thomspon of Radio France viewed the general elections as a turning point in the history of Pakistan, “as the country has played a crucial role in the war against terrorism for the past seven years and the Western countries believe that election is a must to steer Pakistan out of turmoil”.

Thomspon met the leaders of various political parties like the MQM, PML-N, PPP and JI and gathered their comments with regard to rigging in the election. He met with MQM’s Dr Farooq Sattar who said that elections would be held in a peaceful manner and that there were no chances of rigging as the people were all set to cast their vote for their candidates.

According to him, the PPP leadership was quite sceptical about the situation and they complained against the use of state machinery. He said that the PPP alleged that the MQM’s town Nazims were likely to indulge in stuffing ballot boxes.

While explaining the decision to boycott the election, Jamaat-e-Islami said that there were little chances of election being fair and peaceful, “as the present government led by Pervez Musharraf would manipulate election results for favourite candidates”, Thomspon said.

A journalist from Iceland, Egill Bjarnason of 24 Stunlit (24 hours), said that the people of his country have a negative opinion about Pakistan and sometimes they confuse Pakistan with Palestine.

He, however, added that, after arriving in Pakistan, he did not feel insecure.

Bjarnason is personally interested in the Bhutto legacy and he described Benazir’s assassination as shocking but not unexpected. He also attended the first rally of Asif Ali Zardar in Thatta and observed that Benazir was still alive in the hearts of the people.

He, however, observed that people were least interested in casting votes, as they have lost hope after the assassination of Benazir.

Thomas Hall, a reporter of Dagens Nyheter, a Swedish newspaper, hoped that elections in Pakistan would lead the country on the road to democracy. About his concern with regard to insecurity, he said that so far they had not met any untoward incident and that the people in Pakistan were quite cooperative.

Source: The News
Date:2/18/2008