Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Under House Arrest Again

Washington Post reports that for the second time in less than a week, Benazir Bhutto has been detained under house arrest:

LAHORE, Pakistan, Nov. 13 -- The Pakistani government early Tuesday placed former prime minister Benazir Bhutto under house arrest for seven days and said her party would be barred from holding a major procession to protest emergency rule.

According to AP, she responded subsequently with a call for General Pervez Musarraf's resignation;

LAHORE, Pakistan - Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on Tuesday urged President Gen. Pervez Musharraf to resign and ruled out serving under him in a future government after she was placed under house arrest for the second time in five days.
Bhutto also said it was now likely her Pakistan People's Party would boycott January parliamentary elections and indicated that she wanted to build an alliance with other opposition leaders, including former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, to restore democracy.

CBC News has her statement:

"[President Gen. Pervez] Musharraf himself is a hurdle in the way of democracy," the former prime minister told a private TV network in a phone interview from a house in Lahore. "In order to save Pakistan, Musharraf should resign."

.......

In other developments, ABA comments on further manipulations of the Pakistani judicial system by Musharraf, now allowing civilians to be tried by military courts:

As an individual lawyer reportedly challenged, in the country's highest court, the suspension of Pakistan's constitutional system of government a little over a week ago, Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, appeared to be a step or two ahead of him.

Yesterday he amended the 1952 Army Act, to allow the army to try citizens in military court, writes Bloomberg.

Hence, it appears that Musharraf is now further expanding the influence he exerted on the judicial system Nov. 3 by firing numerous appellate judges, including the chief judge of the supreme court, when the general also declared a state of emergency and suspended the constitution. Although Musharraf portrayed the move as a necessary to keep terrorism under control, it is widely perceived as an effort to silence a supreme court that has enforced the rule of law rather than deferring to the military-dominated government.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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