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As Pakistanis battle martial law, US vows continued aid to Musharraf
Tuesday, November 6, 2007 :Protesting lawyers, students and other civilians staged pitched battles with riot police in cities across Pakistan Monday, the third day of the martial law regime imposed by the country’s military strongman General Pervez Musharraf. Even as the protests mounted and Pakistan’s jails were filled to overflowing with thousands of political prisoners dragged off of the streets or from their homes, the Bush administration signaled that it will not take any substantive reprisals against the regime in Islamabad.
Speaking at the White House Monday following a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Bush summed up his administration’s position in remarks characterized by his usual ignorance and cynicism.
“Our hope is that he will restore democracy as quickly as possible,” Bush said of Musharraf. He claimed that in discussions with the Pakistani regime his administration had “made it clear that these emergency measures would undermine democracy.”
But he quickly added that “President Musharraf has been a strong fighter against extremists and radicals,” and that “All we can do is continue to work with the president.”
Asked whether he would order a cut in US aid to Pakistan—which amounts to some $150 million a month, totaling close to $11 billion since September 2001— if Musharraf did not rescind martial law, Bush dismissed the question as “a hypothetical.”
Bush’s remarks echoed those of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.Read More