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Pakistan's sacked chief justice has called for the people to "rise up" and restore the constitution.
In a telephone address to lawyers in Islamabad, Iftikhar Chaudhry criticised President Pervez Musharraf, who imposed a state of emergency on Saturday.
He said the constitution had been "ripped to shreds" by Gen Musharraf and added it was now "time for sacrifices".
US President George W Bush has called on Gen Musharraf to end the emergency and restore democratic civilian rule.
Lacking a civilian constituency, Musharraf remains as dependent today on the religious parties, particularly his coalition partner in the Balochistan government, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), the pro-Taliban party, and the major partner in the MMA alliance, to counter his moderate civilian opposition. The JUI runs the largest network of Deobandi madrasas in Pakistan. Not only are most sectarian, jihadi madrasas associated with the Deobandi sect, the JUI’s madrasa network also provides sanctuary, support and recruits to the Taliban and their Pakistani militant allies. The JUI-led Balochistan and NWFP governments also actively promote religious vigilantism and are responsible for the creeping Talibanization of Pakistan’s predominantly Pashtun tribal belt.
The military’s policy of appeasing homegrown militants in Pakistan’s tribal belt has focused on peace deals that have amnestied pro-Taliban militants. The military’s virtual retreat to the barracks, ceding control over this strategic region bordering on Afghanistan to the Islamist radicals, has given the Taliban a secure base of operations. Emboldened Taliban and their Pakistani allies are now targeting U.S. and Afghan troops across the border and imposing oppressive Taliban-style policing and court systems in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The implications of the military government’s policies are more than evident.
Musharraf’s authoritarian rule has deprived them of participatory, representative avenues to articulate demands and to voice grievances. Politically and economically marginalised, many Baloch see the insurgency as a defensive response to the perceived colonisation of their province by the Punjabi-dominated military.
The killing of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in August 2006 sparked riots and will likely lead to more confrontation. The conflict could escalate if the government insists on seeking a military solution to what is a political problem and the international community, especially the U.S., fails to recognise the price that is involved for security in neighbouring Afghanistan.
exploitation of Balochistan’s natural resources without giving the province its due share;
construction of further military garrisons to strengthen an already extensive network of military bases; and
centrally driven and controlled economic projects, such as the Gwadar deep sea port, that do not benefit locals but raise fears that the resulting influx of economic migrants could make the Baloch a minority in their homeland.
Reliance on the Pashtun religious parties to counter its Baloch opposition has strengthened Pashtun Islamist forces at the cost of the moderate Baloch. With their chief Pakistani patron, Fazlur Rehman’s Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam running the Balochistan government in alliance with Musharraf’s Muslim League (Quaid-i-Azam), a reinvigorated Afghan and Pakistani Taliban are attacking international forces and the Kabul government across Balochistan’s border with Afghanistan. But the international community, particularly the U.S. and its Western allies, seem to ignore the domestic and regional implications of the Balochistan conflict, instead placing their faith in a military government that is targeting the anti-Taliban Baloch and Pashtuns and rewarding pro-Taliban Pashtun parties.
With the federal government refusing to compromise with its Baloch opponents, intent on a military solution to a political problem and ignoring local stakeholders in framing political and economic policies, the directions of the conflict are clear. The military can retain control over Balochistan’s territory through sheer force, but it cannot defeat an insurgency that has local support.
SOURCE | crisisgroup.org | Read more...
Families and friends expected the detainees to be released sooner. Many belong to the intellectual and social cream of society -- professors, lawyers, journalists, artists, economists, former ministers and retired army officials. But their powerful connections were useless this time. The relative of one detained activist who managed to get through to a ‘very high level official’ was told that the local and provincial administration was helpless. "The orders came from the very top, to teach these people a lesson," the official reportedly said.
The regime has been particularly brutal on the legal community for refusing to accept new judges sworn in under emergency orders. The judges of the superior courts who refused to take oath under these orders were placed under house arrest and thousands of lawyers imprisoned around the country. Many were brutally beaten before being hauled off. Hundreds have been charged under the anti-terrorism laws.
SOURCE | ipsnews.net | Read more...