The Guardian reports that even as the US sent one of its most senior diplomats to Pakistan to talk tough to Musharraf, he's carrying on regardless. With an added side helping of torture.
The bruises suffered by Hassan Tariq, a senior barrister in Sindh province, extend in large purple patches from his hip to his rib cage. According to his own account, he was beaten with 'a hard object' and kicked and punched by officers for refusing to chant slogans in favour of Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf.Detention un trumped-up charges, or on the non-charge of "apprehensions" of involvement in "anti-state activities" are being combined with not so subtle threats from Pakistan's ISI intelligence agency to dissidents to "shut up or else".
He was seized on 8 November, but it was five days later when police brought him to the hospital in Nawabshah where doctors found that he had fractured ribs and internal bleeding to his lungs. After the operation to clear his lungs, he discovered the police who had been stationed outside his door had fled, leaving him a free man.
...Two weeks into the crisis that began when Musharraf purged the judiciary, muzzled the media and clamped down on politicians who opposed his re-election, the full details of what the 'state of emergency' entails are emerging as human rights groups in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore collect testimonies.
Retribution is being meted out on a massive scale and Pakistan's powerful gossip mill has attributed a particular motive to Musharraf's thinking - his aim is to 'teach a lesson' to those who have dared object to his belief that only he can save his country. The aim of the state of emergency has been largely to humiliate the opposition.
'Musharraf is trying to cling on to power by beating and jailing an ever-growing number even of opposition activists,' said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. 'His abuse of anti-terrorism laws in a desperate bid to hold on to power must end.'Yet despite the obvious - that Musharraf's crack-down is aimed at middle-class (and often secular) dissent against his dictatorship rather than any kind of fight against the very islamist extremists he is courting to bolster his rule - the usual suspects in America's War party are reaching for the same old hammer.
Kagan and O'Hanlon have penned an incredibly stupid op-ed for the NY Times saying that the U.S. must be "militarily and diplomatically prepared" to send a " a sizable combat force" into Pakistan to bolster military rule. Where they would get the troops to do this while the American military is tied down in Iraq is a mystery they don't address, nor do they address likely Pakistani reaction to what would have to be, as they admit, a pre-emptive occupation in advance of and any widespread collapse of the current dictatorship in order to prop up the current unpopular order. Neither do they address the vexsome problem of what China - the nation with the closest military ties to Pakistan's military rulers including a mutual defense pact, naval basing agreements and technology sharing deals - would have to say about it.
If anyone's going to be putting a sizeable military force into Pakistan in support of the military's rule, I would suggest, it's going to be China. Kagan and O'Hanlon apparently live in some alternate dimension.
Update The Pakistani regime is dismissive of Negroponte's visit:
Pakistan on Sunday rejected a blunt call from Washington's No. 2 diplomat for President Gen. Pervez Musharraf to lift emergency rule and free political opponents ahead of elections.So much for American influence over it's chosen dictatorial ally in the War On (Some) terror.
``This is nothing new,'' Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Sadiq told The Associated Press. ``The U.S. has been saying this for many days. He has said that same thing. He has reiterated it.''