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The Collective
Monday, November 5, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the BBC: Pakistan police attack protesters

Police have used tear gas and batons to break up demonstrations by Pakistani lawyers against the country’s state of emergency.

Lawyers said many colleagues were arrested as protests were dispersed in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi.

The Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami was also targeted, saying hundreds of its members were arrested overnight.


In Lahore an estimated 2,000 people congregated to stage a rally, but several were reported wounded when police waded in.

“Police lobbed more than a dozen tear gas shells at lawyers who had gathered in the High Court and then beat them with batons,” Sheikh Faisal, a lawyer at the court, told the AFP news agency by telephone.

There’s more in the piece linked above. The targeting of lawyers in particular signals a clear attack on opposition within civil society. Again, the degree to which there is an argument to be made that this is really an attack on Islamic radicals is hard to see.

Meanwhile, that LAT notes U.S. alliance with Musharraf falls under new doubt:

In Musharraf, an American president sometimes accused of naive neoconservative faith in democracy made the ultimate realist’s bargain to help prop up an authoritarian leader.

The step Musharraf has taken now has raised fears that the world may end up with a nuclear-armed state that is at once more fractured and host to a stronger Islamic militant force.

The move is making Bush’s deal look more like the one U.S. presidents made with the shah of Iran, whose authoritarian rule opened the way in 1979 to a resentfully anti-U.S. uprising and Islamist regime.

All true, and again, like I noted yesterday, the Cold War parallels are interesting: US support for the Shah’s regime was linked to anti-communism, just as our alliance with Musharraf was linked to anti-terrorism. In both cases the foreign policy goals trumped all else.

Still, despite the title of the piece, I can’t see the US severing ties with the Musharraf government at this stage.

Indeed, as the NYT reports this morning: U.S. Is Likely to Continue Aid to Pakistan:

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.

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Filed under: Global Politics | |


  1. Just gotta laugh at the NYT’s use of the word “despite”. Really, what has human rights got to do with anything? They just keep the lie rolling - “the US cares about human rights”.

    Why do the papers bother? Who are they trying to fool?


    Comment by james — Monday, November 5, 2007 @ 8:45 am

  2. Pakistan Dictator Consolidates Power

    I was away to attend a wedding this weekend and have barely been paying attention to non-football-related news. There’s lots of blogospheric reaction to the mess that’s unfolding in Pakistan, with Pervez Musharraf suspending any pretense t…

    Trackback by Outside The Beltway | OTB — Monday, November 5, 2007 @ 9:16 am

  3. It sucks for Bush that the indispensible Karen Hughes resigned as the US foreign policy propaganda chief.

    I am not sure now funneling billions of dollars to a military dictator can be reconciled with Bush’s pruported interest in “exporting democracy.”

    Comment by Ratoe — Monday, November 5, 2007 @ 10:47 am

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