Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD); the names of the member parties; the Alliance's aims; whether it has been successful in achieving any of its aims; whether its formation has resulted in a meaningful change of circumstance from the violent opposition that characterized relations between the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) [PAK38713.E]

According to various reports, the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) was formed on 3 December 2000 (AP 4 Dec. 2000; Dawn 5 Dec. 2000; HWR 22 Mar. 2001) when the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) joined the Grand Democratic Alliance (The News 4 Dec. 2000).

ARD was reported to include anywhere between 12 and 20 political parties (Dawn 4 Dec. 2000; AP 4 Dec. 2000; ABC 26 Mar. 2001; The Hindu 5 Dec. 2000), including the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), the Pakistan Muslim League (PML, Narwaz group), the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the Awami National Party (ANP) (Dawn 4 Dec. 2000; The Hindu 5 Dec. 2000; Asia Times 10 Jan. 2002), and the Pakistan Democratic Front (The Hindu 5 Dec. 2000). The remaining parties were reported to include "ethnic and nationalist groups and small religious organizations which have a history of sharp political and ideological differences" (AP 4 Dec. 2000). A 7 December 2000 article reported that the Balochistan-based Jamhoori Watan Party was expected to join the Alliance (Dawn), although this information could not be confirmed.

According to reports, the ANP (Dawn 1 Jan. 2002; The Tribune 12 Jan. 2002), the MQM and the Labour Party, Pakistan (LPP) departed the Alliance in 2001 (ibid. The Pakistan Newswire 6 Nov. 2001).

ARD was formed with the common agenda of securing an end to military rule and restoring democracy in Pakistan (The Hindu 5 Dec. 2000; AP 4 Dec. 2000; Business Recorder 15 Oct. 2001). Among other things, ARD's founding resolution demanded that "free, fair and impartial elections be immediately held through [a] financially autonomous and independent Election Commission without interference of the establishment, under a caretaker government of national consensus to restore democracy and transfer power to the elected representatives of the people without conditions and strings" (The News 4 Dec. 2000; Dawn 4 Dec. 2000). The resolution also stated that any amendments to the 1973 constitution undertaken without respect to constitutional procedures or adopted under "pressure from the powers that be" would be unacceptable (ibid.). ARD further resolved to "coordinate, mobilise, organise and struggle together through peaceful means for the restoration of democracy at the earliest" (The News 4 Dec. 2000).

A 22 March 2001 Human Rights Watch press release stated that ARD's "effectiveness has been limited" by internal divisions in the PML between supporters of Nawaz Sharif and dissidents who were against the party's membership in ARD. A member of the dissident faction, which is led by Mian Mohammad Azhar, was reported to have stated that ARD is an "unnatural alliance," bringing together two opposing parties, the PPP and the PML, under the sole agenda of overthrowing the military government (ABC 26 Mar. 2001).

A 10 January 2002 article reported that, despite its strong membership, ARD was never able to mobilize popular support against the Musharraf government (Asia Times Online). ARD's effectiveness was reportedly further eroded over member parties' disagreement over Pakistan's support of US actions in Afghanistan (ibid.; Pakistan Newswire 6 Nov. 2001). Reportedly, many of its members, including the PML and the Pakistan Democratic Party, voiced open opposition to Musharraf's support of US efforts in Afghanistan while parties such as the PPP and the Awami National Party supported the government's policies (ibid.).

In the face of such internal strife (Asia Times 10 Jan. 2001) and stating that PPP's abstention from an all-party conference at the end of December "amounted to a no-confidence in him" (Dawn 2 Jan. 2002), the Alliance's chairman, Nawabzada Nasarullah Khan, resigned; reportedly reducing ARD to an "essentially dead force" (Asia Times Online 10 Jan. 2002).

A 29 January 2002 article reported that the PML (Nawaz) was seeking to avoid entering into an electoral alliance where the PPP would be the stronger party, stating that the PML should "head any electoral alliance built around ARD because it has the central position in the Punjab, the largest province" (Gulf News).

A 10 January 2002 article reported that the central senior vice president of the PML (Nawaz), Mushahidullah Khan, had ruled out the possibility of an electoral alliance with the PPP, stating that "[o]ur alliance [in the ARD] with the Pakistan People's Party was restricted for the cause of democracy and we will take a separate strategy for sure in the elections" (Asia Times Online). Reportedly, PML(Nawaz) was instead thought to be focusing its attentions on forming an electoral alliance with Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and several other religious parties such as the Jamiaat-e-Ulema Pakistan (JUP) (Gulf News 29 Jan. 2002).

Further eroding hopes of an electoral alliance was PPP's decision to run candidates in the coming elections under the PPP banner; effectively sabotaging ARD's attempts to "form an electoral alliance" or even to reach an "'understanding' about seats" (Gulf News 8 Mar. 2002)

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References


Asia Times Online [Hong Kong]. 10 January 2002. Syed Saleem Shahzad. "In Pakistan, the Games Begin." http://www.atimes.com/ind-pak/DA10Df01.html [Accessed 8 Mar. 2002]

Associated Press (AP). 4 December 2000. "Pakistani Opposition Parties Form New Alliance for Democracy." (NEXIS)

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 26 March 2001. "Pakistan's Opposition in Disarray Over Deposed PM, Nawaz Sharif." http://www.abc.net.au/ra/asiapac/archive/2001/mar/raap-27mar2001-5.htm [Accessed 8 Mar. 2002]

Business Recorder [Karachi]. 15 October 2002. "Countdown of Musharraf's Regime Starts: Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy Chief." (Financial Times Information/NEXIS)

Dawn [Karachi]. 2 January 2002. "PPP to Consult other ARD Parties: Nawabzada's Resignation." http://www.dawn.com/2002/01/02/nat1.htm [Accessed 8 Mar. 2002]

_____. 1 January 2002. M. Ismail Khan. "NWFP: On the Frontline Once Again." http://www.dawn.com/events/overview2001/overview4.htm [Accessed 13 Mar. 2002]

_____. 7 December 2000. "JWP May Join ARD on 10th." http://www.dawn.com/2001/12/07/nat6.htm [Accessed 13 Mar. 2002]

_____. 4 December 2000. Faraz Hashmi."Caretaker Setup for Election Demanded: New Alliance Launched." http://www.dawn.com [Accessed 5 Dec. 2000]

Gulf News [Dubai]. 8 March 2002. Abdullah Iqbal. "PPP Denies ARD by Calling For Applications." (Financial Times Information/NEXIS)

_____. 29 January 2002. "PPP Wants ARD to Turn into Electoral Alliance." (Financial Times Information/NEXIS)

The Hindu [New Delhi]. 5 December 2000. "New Alliance in Pak." (Asia Intelligence Wire/NEXIS)

Human Rights Watch (HRW). 22 March 2001. "Pakistan: Mass Arrests Condemned." Press Release http:/www.hrw.org/press/2001/03/pakarrests0322.htm [Accessed 8 Mar. 2002]

The News [Islamabad]. 4 December 2000. "Pakistani Political Parties Form Alliance for Restoration of Democracy." (FBIS-NES-2000-1204 4 Dec. 2000)

The Pakistan Newswire. 29 November 2001. "Politics: Nasrullah to Chair All Parties Conference After Eid." (Pakistan Press International/NEXIS)

_____. 6 November 2001. Untitled. (Pakistan Press International/NEXIS)

The Tribune [Chandigarh]. 12 January 2002. Syed Nooruzzaman. "Window on Pakistan: Of Religio-Political Realignments." http://www.tribuneindia.com/2002/20020112/world.htm#2 [Accessed 8 Mar. 2002]

Additional Sources Consulted


The Herald

IRB databases

LEXIS/NEXIS

Internet sites including:

BBC

CNN

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

News International

United Nations News

World News Connection

Search engines:

Google