BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 14 December 2007, 11:42 GMT
US warned over Pakistan elections
Hina Jilani
Hina Jilani has often criticised the government's human rights record
A prominent Pakistani UN human rights envoy has urged the US not to send monitors to January's elections which she said would be "rigged".

Hina Jilani was addressing a congressional hearing in Washington on the political crisis in Pakistan.

She said that President Musharraf had already taken steps to manipulate the outcome of the polls and had destroyed much of the judiciary and the press.

Ms Jilani is a UN special rapporteur on human rights defenders.

'No credibility'

"There is no point in monitoring the elections or watching the poll - the rigging has already happened," the AFP news agency quoted Ms Jilani as saying.

"Freedom of assembly is totally curtailed, freedom of expression is curtailed.

Right activist Asma Jehangir
Jilani's sister Asma Jehangir is also critical of the government

"Under these conditions, the election that is going to take place on 8 January has very little credibility. Under Pakistan's constitution and the law, the judiciary oversees the elections.

"A judiciary that lacks the confidence of the people and has no credibility, how do you think the elections are going to be credible?" she asked the American lawmakers.

'Implicit support'

She called on the outside world outside to help redress what was wrong in Pakistan "by analysing and making itself more aware of the situation in Pakistan and getting the facts correct".

"All we ask the international community to do is to support us and further our objectives rather than stand in our way," she said.

The UN envoy was responding to questions asked by Democratic lawmakers Sheila Jackson Lee and Jim Moran who wanted her advice on the wisdom of going to Pakistan as part of a congressional delegation to monitor the election process.

Mr Moran said there were doubts among lawmakers over the trip, because "if they were to do it in the first two weeks of January, it will show an implicit support for President Musharraf and, in effect, the process of confirming his election".

He said that there were also doubts that if the delegation went after the vote, the government would be "using us to show American support - bipartisan support - which may not be appropriate".

President Musharraf imposed emergency rule on 3 November. He said it was necessary to suspend the constitution and carry out a series of arrests across the country because the country was being destabilised.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific