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International | U.S. | Government & Elections | Police State and Prisons

Under House Arrest, Pakistani Human Rights Leader Asma Jahangir Speaks Out on Musharraf’s Crackdown
by via Democracy Now
Wednesday Nov 14th, 2007 7:47 AM
Wednesday, November 14, 2007 : Asma Jahangir is the chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and is the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion. She was among the first people rounded up in the state of emergency declared by General Pervez Musharraf. She joins us on the line from her home in Lahore, where she remains under house arrest.
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto called on President Pervez Musharraf to step down Tuesday and vowed never to serve under him in any future government. The announcement came as Bhutto remained under house arrest in Lahore, where she had come to lead a march to Islamabad to protest the state of emergency Musharraf declared on November 3rd. Bhutto said she could no longer work with a military ruler who had declared de facto martial law, locked up her supporters by the thousands, refused to resign as army chief and reneged on promises to put Pakistan on a democratic path.

Bhutto also reached out to her main political rivals, including Islamist alliance leader Qazi Hussain Ahmed and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, to form a united front to force Musharraf from power.

Bhutto’s announcement seemingly ends the hopes of a power-sharing deal between her and Musharraf that was strongly backed by the United States. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte is scheduled to travel to Pakistan for talks with Musharraf later in the week.

Meanwhile, a dozen human rights groups on Tuesday urged President Bush to cut off military aid to Pakistan. The groups included Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Carter Center.

Asma Jahangir is the chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and is the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion. She was among the first people rounded up in the state of emergency. She joins us on the line from her home in Lahore, where she remains under house arrest.

* Asma Jahangir. Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. She is under house arrest in Lahore, Pakistan.

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