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Ear to the Ground

Pakistan Crackdown Intensifies

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Posted on Nov 4, 2007
man behind bars
AP photo / Khalid Tanveer

A political activist looks out from a police van after his arrest in Multan, Pakistan, on Sunday. Police rounded up hundreds of opposition leaders and rights activists after the Musharraf government suspended the constitution.

The government of President Pervez Musharraf has expanded its crackdown on democratic institutions in Pakistan, detaining political rivals as well as journalists and rights advocates. Condoleezza Rice, meanwhile, has hinted that the U.S. will likely continue to send billions of dollars in aid to the increasingly dictatorial regime, although Rice reiterated on Monday that Musharraf should relinquish his position as Pakistan’s top military leader if he is to continue to hold office as president.

For a local perspective, check in with Pakistan’s Jang newspaper group and Dawn newspaper, or check out Dawn columnist Ayaz Amir‘s prescient take on his country’s burgeoning political crisis, published just one day before President Musharraf imposed emergency rule.


New York Times:

The Bush administration signaled Sunday that it would probably keep billions of dollars flowing to Pakistan’s military, despite the detention of human rights advocates and leaders of the political opposition by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the country’s president.

In carefully calibrated public statements and blunter private acknowledgments about the limits of American leverage over General Musharraf, the man President Bush has called one of his most critical allies, the officials argued that it would be counterproductive to let Pakistan’s political turmoil interfere with their best hope of ousting Al Qaeda’s central leadership and the Taliban from the country’s mountainous tribal areas.

Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that while the United States would “have to review the situation with aid,” she said three times that President Bush’s first concern was “to protect America and protect American citizens by continuing to fight against terrorists.”

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Washington Post:

Pakistan’s government on Sunday executed a nationwide crackdown on the political opposition, the news media and the courts, one day after President Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule and suspended the constitution.

Police throughout the country raided the homes of opposition party leaders and activists, arresting at least 500. Top lawyers were also taken into custody, and 70 activists were detained at the offices of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in the eastern city of Lahore. Police confiscated the equipment of journalists covering the raid and ordered them to leave the premises. All independent television news stations remained off the air for a second straight day. The prime minister, meanwhile, said that elections could be delayed for up to a year.

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By rodney, November 7, 2007 at 10:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When you sleep with the devil, you’ll wake up in hell!

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A Khokar's avatar

By A Khokar, November 5, 2007 at 10:24 pm Link to this comment

In Love with Al-Qaeda
In order to contemplate US hegemonic ambitions of ‘American Empire’ dreams; NeoCons very skilfully evolved a special policy to mark 21st century the ‘New American Century. This plan revolves around a myth of Al-Qaeda; to depict Al-Qaeda a monster of terror and through a scheme of fallacy and deception be declared terrorist and enemy of humanity. Once this fallacy is spread in the world a universal war be waged against it. Matter of the fact is that George W Bush and his Neocons are in love with this scheme of Al-Qaeda. They are pinning all their hopes on this Myth.
After due deliberations, a ‘Global war against terrorism’ has since been launched. Its scope is so vast and far stretched that any one or any organisation or a country on this planet earth can be declared a suspect terrorist and exterminated. We have also witnessed that all untoward incident of violence happening in the selected theatre of US operations… are simply linked to Al-Qaeda and over a short period of time, this false and phoney myth of Al-Qaeda rhetoric has been repeated so many times that this stark lie is now seen and termed as true and real. Credit goes to the policy makers and its successful executioners.
A grand American onslaught is on in Middle East and sovereign countries are being invaded, occupied and turned into US mega bases. After due consolidation of these bases; they are made as bounds to serve for further advances. A befitting example of Iraq is there, where this country was invaded and now huge bases are developed and forces are ready to launch from these bases, for their further attacks; yet another sovereign country…Iran.
The beauty of this scheme is that many countries are coerced to join US to form a coalition and to make it sure that it is seen as an international show. Some of the countries like Pakistan are also engaged to act as proxy; to act as front state; to (indirectly) stir the crippled Taliban remnant on Pak-Afghan border so that Al-Qaeda is seen live and kicking and war against terrorism is justified. Huge sums are being pelted at the doors of this front state and her agents.
This Al-Qaeda has become a tool and a lynch pin of Neocons dream policy. US has the craze to see it as an omnipotent force, an imaginary, invisible enemy; servitude of US, designed to present itself as ‘fore runners’ to act as enemy to facilitate subsequent planned attacks of…US adventurism. 
President Musharraf should also know that he has betrayed his own country men. All the proxy and mercenaries have their day; Pakistan may not be an exception to it; Musharraf has already been declared as spent cartridge and has been dictated to hand over the rein of his country to Miss Benazir Bhutto (the new implanted proxy in the theater). History shows that no one could be a better US proxy in Arab world than Saddam Hussein in Iraq. But this business of his; cost him his country as well as a show trial and gallows awaited him at the end to silence him for good.

Show goes on

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By Tom Doff, November 5, 2007 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Dummy today observed that ‘Musharraf’s moves undermine democracy’.

Ya think!?

Let’s see, you suspend the Constitution, disband the parliament, arrest the judges, and clamp iron control on the media, and that’s not ‘democratic’?

But Bush’s gonna ‘Stand by the president’.

What ‘president’?

Pervez is now formally a Dictator.

Except, of course, from the zionist point of view, as expressed by lilmamzer.

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By jatihoon, November 5, 2007 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

Pick your choice. ALLAH, ARMY OR AMERICA. God bless democracy in Pakistan.

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By Don Stivers, November 5, 2007 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

Almost like the Johnny Cash song “down, down, down and the flames went higher…”

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By John Hall, November 5, 2007 at 11:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“As usual, nobody here at TruthCrap has any better alternative to the wave of Islamist mass-murders that have been afflicting Pakistan.”

So tell me, “lilmanzer”, what’s your solution? Or is turning the government into a dictatorship to stop terrorists ok with you?

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By ocjim, November 5, 2007 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

We seem to be able to count on the Bush administration to do everything wrong, so one might expect this to be the perfect opportunity for BushCo to bomb Iran. It would insure maximum disruption of stability not only in Pakistan but in the rest of the Middle East. Neocons don’t negotiate. They just blunder in. The Iranian secret forces would then have the excuse to topple the unstable Pakistan government and then have control of an established cache of nuclear weapons. Such a scenario might even insure the continuation of a neocon administration that continue Bush/Cheney militancy. Then we can have eternal war and the total breakdown of our own democracy.

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By hazmaq, November 5, 2007 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

As I review the news this morning and watch the entire world grow more divisive and out of control, I’m also acutely made aware of a sense of shame at my own country’s’ degraded position as a world leader, as a revered independent moderator to turn to for guidance.
That’s all gone.
With the help of the Fox’s, the Malkins, the Lieberman’s, the far Right and the Evangelical Extremist’s, they’ve reduced the entire nation into a symbol as vile as that of a burning KluKluxKlan effigy.

What brought me here today?
I search always for those who try to change things for the better -to join in and contribute my meager 2 cents. But I’m just about out of places to turn to.
While a nuclear catastrophe is more imminent in Pakistan than at any other time or place since Cuba, those who begat this evil now turn their cowardly backs away   -the media keep their noses up Hollywood’s ass, Bush still victimizes cripples with his ‘freedom’ medals, Congress looks each other’s bank accounts and the Court seeks an ideological overthrow.

But the one thing that really irked me?  When I tuned into Washington Journal this morning hoping to hear some enlightened words of wisdom at such a crucial time? 
No.  It was caller bashing the Democrats -for Pork. That was today’s subject -the Democratic Congressional leaders and pork.
Now the Dems should be held to account for their wrongdoing -that’s wasn’t what irked me. But Lamb favors framing every subject the way Fox does -from a bash all Republican opponents position.
I’ve long been on the case of Brian Lamb, the CEO of C-span, for a blatant bias in his programming choices. (It’s important to also note that his show’s callers are almost all from the Eastern half of the US due to the time zones. He takes a lot of Red-State callers.)

Not in the past 6 years has Lamb said hardly a word about the overspending or pork -from the Republican run Congress.
But he’s already done two since the Democrats took control.  Other than today, the other was done back in August where he went after Ron Paul.
Just the Democrats and Ron Paul.

But, who cares.

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By lilmamzer, November 5, 2007 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

As usual, nobody here at TruthCrap has any better alternative to the wave of Islamist mass-murders that have been afflicting Pakistan.

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By A Concerned Pakistani, November 5, 2007 at 5:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am deepley worried about this Neocon puppit Musharaf action. I will quote Imran khan recent statement, “Musharaf is soon to be facing the same fate as Shah of Iran”. Majority of population is absolutely disgussed with him and US meddling in Pakistani government. Musharaf gave reason for this Marshal law that increase in terrorism etc and the irony is that in the last 8 yrs since he siezed power he has covertly supported terrorist elements( there are numerous examples) as the famous lawyer Asma Jahangir said just before her arrest yesterday: Those he has arrested are progressive, secular- minded people while the terrorists are offered negotiations and ceasefires”. You can read the full news here: http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/article3129653.ece

Many Pakistani are fully aware the phony war on terror, the creation of AlQaida was by CIA & ISI who is loosly speaking still controlled by them. Shame on you Americans, how many lives will you ruin how many countries you will destroy before you rest!!!

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By Verne Arnold, November 5, 2007 at 5:17 am Link to this comment

#111717 by A Khokar on 11/05 at 1:42 am
(6 comments total)

That you are posting here, you must know that many of us are as appalled as you are; just look at our posts.

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By Verne Arnold, November 5, 2007 at 5:11 am Link to this comment

Read More;
I don’t need to read more…I’ve already read too much…it’s the same drivel.  The present administration does not want to be confused by the reality that their whole neo-con (neo-fascist) fantasy has gone south.  They will trash Iran (for which they have no credible info) but give a pass to Musharraf, who displays all of the provable evidence of a despot and a nuclear power, “NOT” a member of the non proliferation treaty (Iran is a member).

There comes a time (long past) when the governed must exhibit an I.Q. higher than the approval rating of their fearless leader.  There comes a time when the governed must accept some responsibility for the way they cast their vote in the last TWO elections.  There has always been a choice, so quit whining and do the right thing!!!!

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By Tom Doff, November 5, 2007 at 4:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Our continued support of Dictator Musharraf should certainly enhance this administration’s world image as an avid supporter of democratic principles,

NOT.

What more can Bush do to support and prove OBL’s positions and rhetoric? Fly an F-16 into the Capitol dome?

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A Khokar's avatar

By A Khokar, November 5, 2007 at 2:42 am Link to this comment

After the incident of 9/11, United States declared a war against terror. Although no person from Afghanistan or Pakistan was accused of this heinous crime but the area lying along the Pak-Afghan border was marked as the battle ground of this new war by US. The old training camps set up along this border which were used to produce battle fodders of Afghan War, called Mujahideen; were marked as suspected prime targets. Pakistan was earlier responsible to run these camps. These localities which had since been abandoned and disbanded were now serving as seminaries for the basic education of local children.

In the wake of 9/11 incident, the vague and apparently baseless and false pretext levelled up, in support of US allegation against these camps created a state of illusion for Pakistan. Although Pakistan denied these allegations very squarely but was forced to accept to carry out the mopping up operation; in case there were some miscreants present there. This was called a famous U turn of Musharraf, where he accepted to fight against his own people in the areas lying with in Pakistan.

After this, it is all history that how aerial bombardment of Afghanistan was carried out by US and hundred of thousands of Afghani were forced to leave their homes. They fled to neighbouring countries. Most of them poured into Pakistan. (at one stage there were more than 2 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan). They were innocent and they ask that; why their houses and families were destroyed? The resentment and vengeance was widely prevalent among this creed.

Presently, Musharraf and his government are being considered as an abettor of United States. USA as well Musharraf has become their enemies. This has disrupted the comparative serene, calm and a safe life of Pakistani people. Extremism and suicide bombing is on the increase and is turning into a state of mayhem and anarchy. Civil society and law courts are also turning against the government. Writ of government is at stake. Even the traffic regulating actions taken by the law enforcing authorities are challenged in the courts and set aside. It is tearing apart the serenity out of the lives of society.

Pakistan which was called a front state in the war against terrorism and had opted to fight in the war on behalf of United States against terrorism has eventually fell a prey to this war and is lying their thoroughly bruised as a victim.  So much so that a state of emergency has to be declared by Musharraf to harness and tame the so called this monster of…Terrorism.

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By Douglas Chalmers, November 5, 2007 at 12:35 am Link to this comment

Quote: “...their best hope of ousting Al Qaeda’s central leadership and the Taliban from the country’s mountainous tribal areas…”

Finally they’re going to send Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now) into the remote mountains of Afghanistan to assasinate Osam bin Laden “with extreme prejudice” - oh, but he’s the president in Washington now, uhhh!?!? Another of Condi’s fantasies…..

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