Pakistan Cracks Down on Protesters
Filed at 4:52 p.m. ET
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Police used tear gas and batons to disperse lawyers protesting Saturday against legal rulings clearing the way for President Gen. Pervez Musharraf to run for another five-year term.
A day after the Supreme Court dismissed several petitions challenging Musharraf’s bid for re-election, the Election Commission on Saturday approved his candidacy in a ruling expected to be challenged.
Police first tried to disperse the lawyers, then turned on journalists covering the chaotic clashes. Deputy Information Minister Tariq Azim was also caught up in the melee, receiving a few punches from protesters before being bundled into a car by aides and driven away.
Tear gas and truncheons against lawyers. Sounds good to me. A ruthless and dictatorial military leader, Musharraf is twisting the arms of the courts to get an illegal (at least before the twisting began) 2nd term.
Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup, has pledged to give up his powerful post as army chief if he wins the election (but not before, in case he needs it to break a few heads). He also says he will restore civilian rule (he will un-blushingly be the civilian ruler) in a country that has lurched between unstable elected governments and military regimes during its 60-year history.
Osama bin Laden is hidden out in a mountain cave near the Pakistani border with Afghanistan–a place so tribal and uninhabitable that even Musharraf’s army dares not go there. His grip on this lurching and unstable, America-hating Muslim cauldron is shaky at best. The Taliban are everywhere.
Thank god, at least they don’t have the bomb.
Damn, there goes the entire argument against the unfriendly (but stable and not lurching) Iranian nuclear threat.