Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Who will take over if Musharraf falls?

Musharraf’s Faltering Grip

A few weeks after Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf suspended Iftikar Chaudhry, Pakistan’s chief justice, demonstrations boil on around the country. Protesters accuse the president of violating the constitution in order to silence the judge who questioned his authority, though Gen. Musharraf denies the claims, saying “there is a conspiracy against me”. At the same time, the Supreme Court demanded the government provide information about some four hundred people who’ve vanished into police custody since Pakistan allied itself with the United States in 2001.

Musharraf indefinitely removed Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry from office for abuse of power, but opponents claim the move was aimed at silencing an outspoken judge before a series of election-year cases challenging the president's authority.

The chief justice ... took up cases of "forced disappearances" — people believed to have been picked up by the country's powerful intelligence agencies without due process of law.

Human rights groups have expressed concern over the disappearance of at least 400 people in that manner since Pakistan joined the U.S.-led effort to curb terrorism in 2001.

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