Via Christian Science Monitor:
Pakistan crackdown widens as Musharraf insists emergency rule needed to fight terrorism
Police suppress lawyers' protests, shut down press, as reports suggest over 1,500 opposition activists have been detained.
By Dan Murphy
from the November 6, 2007 edition
Cairo - Since suspending his country's Constitution over the weekend, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has moved quickly to arrest opposition activists and control the press, nudging the country closer to a full-fledged dictatorship.
The Associated Press reports that 1,500 activists have been arrested since the president gave himself sweeping powers on Saturday, in a move that analysts said appeared designed to preempt a Supreme Court ruling that could have prevented him from being reelected president.
While stopping short of a complete condemnation, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged President Musharraf to quickly restore the rule of law to Pakistan, Reuters reports. Both the US and Britain have urged the country to hold elections scheduled for January.
In its Nov. 4 issue, The Dawn, Pakistan's largest English-language newspaper, carried a roundup of those detained in a front page article, which includes opposition political party heads and a former director of the ISI, Pakistan's powerful intelligence agency.
In neighbor and frequent rival India, The Times of India called Musharraf's act over the weekend a "coup" and chided the US for having backed his initial seizure of power in 1999, arguing that military rulers are not the answer to Islamist violence.
According to The Times of India:
British, European and other Western capitals underlined their acute embarrassment at General Musharraf's "second coup" on Monday by renewing only a weak and vacillating criticism of the authoritarian crackdown and offering no firm promises the aid pipeline to Pakistan will be cut.It is being rumored that the West, the US and Britain, have actually sanctioned the declared state of emergency.
I tend to believe that Bush et al. are in favor of Musharraf's actions because they want him to stay in power in Pakistan because they need him to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan whether he's a dictator or a democratic ruler.
My friend AnimeFreak40K made me aware of an article from which I take this quote from Benazir Bhutto:
I have long claimed that the rise of extremism and militancy in Pakistan could not happen without support from elements within the current administration. My return to my country poses a threat to the forces of extremism that have thrived under a dictatorship. They want to stop the restoration of democracy at any price. They have exploited a poor, desperate, and powerless people and allowed extremists the right environment in which to flourish.Ms. Bhutto wants to share governance of Pakistan with Musharraf.