Senate Democrats

Reid, Pakistani Opposition Leader Discuss Future Of Democracy Under Musharraf

Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid met today with Imran Khan, a leading Pakistani opposition leader, to discuss the upcoming Pakistani elections and the future of democracy in Pakistan.

Khan, a member of the Pakistani parliament, leads the Justice Movement party and expressed deep concern about the Pakistani judiciary.  Khan made it clear that Pakistan cannot have true democracy, or free and fair elections, without reinstating the head of the Supreme Court and the rest of the judges President Musharraf dismissed.  He also believes that the February 18th parliamentary elections may be rigged, which would further undermine Pakistani democracy.

“Today’s meeting made it even clearer that the United States must support the people of Pakistan rather than individuals in that nation’s government who oppose democracy,” Reid said.  “I believe that the United States needs to look closely at the assistance we send to Pakistan.  If President Musharraf does not allow full and free elections and does not restore freedoms, we need to consider reducing non-development aid to Pakistan.”

Reid recently sent President Bush a letter urging him to consider cutting off non-development aid to Pakistan unless President Musharraf reinstates the previous Supreme Court, restores all freedoms and allows a full investigation into the recent assassination of former Prime Minister Bhutto.

In today’s meeting, the group also discussed U.S. development assistance to Pakistan and the importance of ensuring that U.S. taxpayer dollars are helping the Pakistani people in areas like education and healthcare.