THURSDAY 8 NOVEMBER 2007, 12.30 – 1.30 pm
2/26 Constitution Hill, Birmingham B19 3LH
Pakistan’s ‘progress’ towards democracy was brought to a halt suddenly on 3 November 2007 with the imposition of a State of Emergency. Musharraf also suspended the Constitution which makes that decision martial law in all but name. The timing of the decision is almost certainly connected to the expected Supreme Court ruling on the validity of Musharraf’s election as President. Human rights, civil rights, trade union rights, right to free movement etc, are now no longer guaranteed.
Five hundred people have been placed under house arrest, including Asma Jahangir, a Special Rapporteur to the UN Commission on Human Rights, lawyer’s leader Aitzaz Ahsan and politician Imran Khan. Severe restrictions have been imposed on the press and media. There is no timetable for the lifting of the Emergency which places the timing of the forthcoming elections, due in January 2008, in doubt.
Musharraf cites the activities extremists, terrorists and suicide bombers as the main reasons for the Emergency. But, it is Musharraf’s backing for the US, its foreign policy and pursuance of the ‘War on Terror’, opposed by many Pakistanis across the political spectrum, that has brought increased terrorist violence to Pakistan.
Musharraf also cites the activities of the judiciary – not supporting the government’s fight against terrorism, interfering in government policy and ordering the release of ‘hard core militants, extremists, terrorists and suicide bombers’ - as another reason for the Emergency. The Chief Justice has once again been removed from his position and a new Chief Justice has been sworn in.
Private TV channels have been taken off the air and other restrictions placed on the press. Without freedom of the press, it is not possible for democracy to flourish.
Throughout his eight year rule Musharraf has made great claims for the development and advancement of the Pakistani economy and better governance, but life for the majority of the people has not improved and continues to deteriorate.
In solidarity with the people of Pakistan we demand:
* restoration of the Constitution
* restoration of the judiciary as it stood prior to 3 November 2007
* Lifting of emergency and an end to military dictatorship
* an end to media blackout
* political process to proceed as timetabled
We call on all justice and freedom loving people to come and support the protest and show solidarity with the peoples of Pakistan - in this, their hour of need!
For further information and future activities contact:
Pervaiz Khan 07956 683158
Naeem Malik 07721 427690 nmalik50@yahoo. com