ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) – Police fired tear gas and clubbed thousands of lawyers protesting President Gen. Pervez Musharrafâ€™s decision to impose emergency rule, as Western allies threatened to review aid to the troubled Muslim nation. Opposition groups put the number of arrests at 3,500, although the government reported half that.
Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup and is also head of Pakistanâ€™s army, suspended the constitution on Saturday ahead of a Supreme Court ruling on whether his recent re-election as president was legal. He ousted independent-minded judges, put a stranglehold on independent media and granted sweeping powers to authorities to crush dissent.
The attorney general called Monday for the polls to be held on time, but Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz left open the possibility for a delay.
Under intense pressure from the United States and other Western allies to hold elections as scheduled in January, Musharraf said Monday he would relinquish control of the military and return the country to â€œthe same track as we were movingâ€ but he gave no indication when the vote would take place.
And THIS is the government that we have been supporting for quite a while now, a supposed ally in the GWoT, a valued partner in the hunt for Osama bin Laden as he is purported to be in hiding in Pakistanâ€¦
Damn, we sure can pick em huh??
â€œI am determined to remove my uniform once we correct these pillars – the judiciary, the executive, and the parliament,â€ Musharraf was quoted by state-run Pakistan Television as telling foreign ambassadors Monday.
â€œI can assure you there will be harmony â€¦ confidence will come back into the government, into law enforcement agencies and Pakistan will start moving again on the same track as we were moving.â€
Take off the uniform NOW, a nation under military rule is NOT a free nation, and a nation being led by someone that can arbitrarily suspend the constitution of that nation at will, is NOT, in my opinion, a free nationâ€¦
Public anger was mounting in the nation of 160 million people, which has been under military rule for much of its 60-year history, but demonstrations so far have been limited largely to activists, rights workers and lawyers – angered by his attacks on the judiciary. All have been quickly and sometimes brutally stamped out.
I have to wonder, what Musharraf will do, or have his military do, if the protests actually grow and spread?? Pakistan is populated by 160 million people, what would happen if they ALL went into open revolt??
And something that must not be overlooked or forgotten is this, Pakistan is a nuclear power, that is a scary propositionâ€¦
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Washington was reviewing its assistance to Pakistan, which has received billions of dollars in aid since Musharraf threw his support behind the U.S.-led war on terror after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested that military aid may not be affected because the Bush administration does not want to disrupt its partnership with Pakistan in fighting al-Qaida and other militants. The country has been hit by a string of suicide bombings in recent weeks blamed on extremists.
I am pretty sure that weâ€™re going to be neck deep in this one very soon, we already have forces on the ground, thatâ€™s not a well publicized fact but I am 99.99% certain that we DO have military people on the ground in Pakistan, not taking part in this current dust up, at least not directly, but they are there, as well as other organizations that are U.S. based, the hunt for bin Laden goes on regardlessâ€¦
And I am guessing that weâ€™ll soon be dumping BILLIONS into Pakistan in an effort to maintain what is perceived to be a valuable ally in the GWoTâ€¦
I wonder how long before the Queen of the Bush Bots has a Support Pakistani Freedom blog roll up and running??
Full Story Here:
Thousands Face Down Pakistani Police