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Pakistan: Violent state repression of protests over Bhutto assassination
Sunday, December 30, 2007 :Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday ordered the military and other security forces to take whatever measures were necessary to quell rioting sparked by last Thursday’s assassination of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader, former prime minister and current prime ministerial candidate Benazir Bhutto.
Musharraf directed that persons involved in rioting be charged under Pakistan’s notorious Anti-Terrorism Act. Military forces had already been deployed on the streets of major Pakistani cities, especially in Bhutto’s native province of Sindh. On Friday, the entire country was shut down by a general strike.
Press reports Sunday said the death toll from rioting was at least 44, but failed to provide a breakdown as to the number of persons who died at the hands of the police and military.
The rioters targeted business and symbols of the government, including government buildings, police posts, railway stations and election commission offices, as well as the offices and homes of politicians associated with the Pakistan Muslim League (Q), the military-sponsored, pro-Musharraf party.
Although Bhutto was participating in the national and provincial assembly elections scheduled for January 8, she had repeatedly accused the Musharraf regime of preparing to rig the elections and had pointed to a vast number of irregularities. She had complained that the local government bodies charged with supervising the elections remain in the hands of toadies of the military regime.Read More