The Pakistani Dictator and US

Bush says he’ll take Musharraf at his word (Reuters):

President George W. Bush said on Saturday he was taking Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf at his word that elections would be held early next year, but he also emphasized that Washington needed Pakistan’s cooperation in fighting al Qaeda.

Musharraf Sets No Date to End Emergency Rule (New York Times):

Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, appeared to yield to intense American pressure on Sunday by restoring parliamentary elections in early January, but he said his emergency decree would last at least through then, immediately raising new questions about the vote’s legitimacy.

General Musharraf is a cowardly dictator with no intent of facing up to his own people.  He is terrified of elections, and terrified of losing power.

At a combative news conference where General Musharraf sweated visibly, he defended his Nov. 3 emergency decree as the tough decision-making of a selfless leader intent on saving his country from anarchy.

“I found myself between a rock and a hard surface,” said General Musharraf, who mostly spoke in English. “I have no egos, personal egos and no personal ambitions to guard.”

He’s not a very good liar.  Just a very good thug.  And the US, through Bush, is fine with that, as long as he keeps “helping” with Al Qaida.

Meanwhile Benazir Bhutto struggles to fight oppression without our help (Reuters):

Bhutto plans to lead a 3-4 day, 270 km (170 miles) “long march” from Lahore to the capital Islamabad to demand Musharraf quit as army chief, end emergency rule, reinstate the constitution and free thousands of detained lawyers and opponents — including many from her party.

But a government official said it would not be allowed, setting the scene for confrontation on Tuesday when thousands of supporters are expected to converge on the neighborhood to begin the procession.”Rallies and protests are banned, they are not allowed,” Deputy Information Minister Tariq Azim Khan told Reuters when asked about the planned protest.

“Whoever breaks the law will be taken to task,” he said.

And like most government thugs, he remained confident he will never be taken to task for his role in crushing Democracy in Pakistan.  Back to the New York Times Article:

But many opposition politicians and Western diplomats called the election date a ruse to ease the outcry against General Musharraf’s seizure of additional power. They questioned how Pakistan could have fair elections when his security forces have arrested 2,500 civilians, suspended the Constitution, blocked independent news channels and banned public gatherings.

“It’s an attempt at a sop,” said one Western diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with diplomatic protocol. “He’s looking to see whether simply announcing an election date will placate people.”

Its not fooling the rest of the world.  We see clearly what Musharraf and his supporters are trying to do.  Judging by the continued response from the opposition in the very face of oppression, the Pakistani people see clearly too.  We ought to support them, and explicitly oppose Musharraf’s tyranny.

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