Photo above is of police officers as they scuffle with lawyers protesting in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, Nov. 5, 2007. Legions of police firing tear gas and swinging batons clashed with lawyers Monday as security forces across Pakistan blockaded courts to quash protests against President Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s declaration of a state of emergency. (B.K.Bangash/ AP Photo )
I’m closely watching this one since our government has contributed billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan ever since Pakistan’s President Gen. Pervez gave support of the U.S. led war on terror after the September 11th attacks.
From the AP:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) – Police fired tear gas and battered thousands of lawyers protesting President Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s decision to impose emergency rule, as Western allies threatened to review aid to the troubled Muslim nation. More than 1,500 people have been arrested in 48 hours, and authorities put a stranglehold on independent media.
Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup and is also head of Pakistan’s army, suspended the constitution on Saturday ahead of a Supreme Court ruling on whether his re-election as president was legal. He ousted independent-minded judges, stripped media freedoms and granted sweeping powers to authorities to crush dissent.
Though public anger was mounting in the nation of 160 million people, which has been under military rule for much of its 60-year history, demonstrations so far have been limited largely to activists, rights workers and lawyers. All have been quickly and sometimes brutally stamped out.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is not just standing by. She is currently reviewing the aid we gave to Pakistan and speaking out against Musharraf’s decision to suspend the constitution:
At a news conference in the West Bank on Monday, Rice urged Musharraf to follow through on past promises to “take off his uniform.”
“I want to be very clear,” she said, as a team of U.S. defense officials postponed plans to travel to Islamabad for talks Tuesday because of the crisis. “We believe that the best path for Pakistan is to quickly return to a constitutional path and then to hold elections.”
Additionally, Britain is rethinking its aid package and Denmark has suspended their aid to Pakistan.
This, unfortunately, is going to turn very ugly, very fast.
Read the full story from the Associated Press.