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Ear to the Ground

Musharraf Frees Thousands of Pakistani Prisoners

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Posted on Nov 20, 2007
Pakistani journalists
AP photo / Anjun Naveed

The crackdown continues:  Pakistani police surround journalists during a protest in Islamabad against Musharraf’s emergency rule.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is showing signs that he’s feeling the heat from the West, loosening his regime’s steel-trap grip by lifting some of the most severe measures he enforced since imposing a state of emergency rule in his country.  As of Tuesday morning, in fact, 3,416 people who were jailed during the initial crackdown had been released, according to a government spokesman.

The Los Angeles Times:

Musharraf says the emergency is needed to combat increasingly powerful Islamic militants, but opponents note most of those jailed have been moderates. They say the general suspended the constitution solely to preserve his grip on power by preventing the then-Supreme Court from invalidating his recent re-election as president.

When the reconstituted Supreme Court threw out legal challenges to Musharraf’s re-election Monday, critics denounced the decision as illegitimate and insisted that Musharraf relinquish power to end the country’s political turmoil.

However, the ruling did pave the way for Musharraf to fulfill a promise to quit as army chief and rule as a civilian president, perhaps by the end of the month, and some opposition leaders and analysts said the ruling could prompt the government to ease the emergency.

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Also, check out Dawn newspaper columnist Ayaz Amir’s entertainingly ascerbic take on Musharraf’s latest moves—an inside look peppered with some real zingers, such as Amir’s remark that Benazir Bhutto has returned from her “somewhat longish journey into the land of make-believe” and has effectively abandoned the disastrous (in Amir’s estimation) plan of joining forces with Musharraf, which would be “worse than political suicide.” 

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By thomas billis, November 21, 2007 at 2:07 am Link to this comment
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I say Karl Rove goes over to Pakistan and remold Musharaff’s image.He made a chimpanzee look presidential here no telling what he can do for Musharaff there

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By QuyTran, November 20, 2007 at 8:33 pm Link to this comment

The dictator and the corrupt ex-PM will made an ideal marriage ! Congratulations to both !

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By BadMan, November 20, 2007 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

Benazir Bhutto is a tool, nothing more. I don’t personally like Musharraf, but he should be replaced by an independent not another US government lackey, this will only cause further conflict in a country that seems more like a ticking time bomb every day.

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By Douglas Chalmers, November 20, 2007 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

Quote: “Benazir Bhutto has returned from her “somewhat longish journey into the land of make-believe” and has effectively abandoned the disastrous (in Amir’s estimation) plan of joining forces with Musharraf…”

She got back into town on one foot - and will kick Musharraf with the other foot, ha ha!

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