Friday, November 16, 2007

Anti-terror laws in Pakistan

Protesters in London demonstrating against Pakistan's "state of emergency". Image originally uploaded by Orhan

Not so great at catching actual terrorists, but very good for stifling dissent:
Another opposition figure contacted by Bhutto earlier in the week, cricket legend Imran Khan, was moved to Lahore's biggest prison early Thursday after being charged under anti-terror laws for protesting against emergency rule.

Musharraf said in a series of interviews that he would not consider quitting until the turmoil in the country was over, telling Sky News: "I am not a dictator, I want a democracy."
Anyone who thinks that we need to make a devil's bargain with Musharraf to avoid having the bomb fall into the hands of radicals should remember these points:
  • It was the Pakistani military, with the help of A.Q. Khan, that sold nuclear weapons technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

  • It was the Pakistani military which backed the Taliban in Afghanistan before 9/11.

  • Musharraf signed a deal with the Taliban in September of 2006 that effectively gave them safe haven in Waziristan and has allowed them to relaunch attacks on Afghanistan. 2007 has been the most violent year in Afghanistan, since the 2001 invasion.
  • And while Musharraf has now disbanded his country's secular courts and turned his forces against protestors demanding a return to democracy, this is how the war against Pakistan's radical militants is going:
    [I]n the last several days, the militants have extended their reach, capturing more territory in Pakistan’s settled areas and chasing away frightened policemen, local government officials said.

    As inconspicuous as it might be in a nation of 160 million people, the takeover of the small Alpuri district headquarters this week was considered a particular embarrassment for General Musharraf. It showed how the militants could still thumb their noses at the Pakistani Army.

    In fact, local officials and Western diplomats said, there is little evidence that the 12-day-old emergency decree has increased the government’s leverage in fighting the militants, or that General Musharraf has used the decree to take any extraordinary steps to combat them.
    h/t John Cole

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