Oh yeah, Mushie is soooo serious about restoring democracy after Dubya threatened to ummm...well, actually, threatened to do nothing except get mildly annoyed.
Benazir Bhutto will be barred from taking part in a planned procession between Lahore and Islamabad, the Pakistani government said today. "All processions, rallies, political gatherings at present are outlawed," the deputy information minister, Tariq Azim, told the Associated Press. "So if she breaks the law, then obviously she will not be allowed to do it."Musherraf may be promising January elections, but he's broken promises before. They'll only go ahead if he is sure he can rig them.
The opposition leader was due to set off for the capital from the eastern city of Lahor tomorrow morning. The journey was expected to take around three days, and thousands of supporters were thought likely to join her en route.
Earlier, Bhutto urged people to join the protest against the imposition of emergency rule, saying it would go ahead even if police tried to block her.
Of course, if Bhutto defies the ban (I think she has to, or lose all credibility) and Musharraf tries to have her arrested (I think he has to, or lose all credibility) then all hell is out for noon. Either the ensuing violence will provoke civil war or those sent to arrest her will refuse and we'll have another variety of civil war. That will make the elections even easier to rig and will keep Mushie on his throne for a little longer while his country falls apart beneath him.
Update The Pakistani dictator has placed Bhutto under house arrest again, this time for a week. Hundreds of police are surrounding her house in Lahore and barricading the streets.
But a party spokeswoman vowed the protest would go ahead.
"Our plan is on. Definitely she'll try to come out. We will start our procession from here and if they try to stop us, the whole of Punjab will be a battleground," said the spokeswoman, Fazana Raja.