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Deepening political crisis in Pakistan
Thursday, November 8, 2007 :The political crisis in Pakistan continues to mount as supporters of Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) prepare to hold a rally today in the garrison town of Rawalpindi to challenge the imposition of martial law by military strongman President Pervez Musharraf last Saturday. The authorities have declared the rally illegal and threatened to arrest anyone taking part.
Rawalpindi, near the capital of Islamabad, is the headquarters for the Pakistani army and air force. The PPP claims that the police have detained at least 800 party activists in cities and towns throughout the Punjab in an effort to prevent the demonstration from proceeding.
The PPP is demanding the restoration of the country’s constitution and that Musharraf step down as armed forces chief and hold fresh parliamentary elections. Bhutto demagogically declared on Wednesday that “the regime will find it difficult to put them in jails,” appealing for her supporters to make their way to Rawalpindi. “I understand my liberty might be at stake,” she added melodramatically.
Of all the main opposition leaders, Bhutto is the only one who still enjoys complete freedom of movement. She returned to Pakistan on October 18 after reaching a US-brokered powersharing deal with Musharraf that would have enabled him to remain as president and her to become prime minister after new parliamentary elections. Musharraf’s declaration of emergency rule was prompted by fears that the Supreme Court intended to overrule last month’s presidential vote—a military-orchestrated sham that explicitly violated the constitution.Read More