Raw News for the week of November 5th, 2007

Sharif demands Bhutto abandon plans with Musharraf

November 8, 2007

Sharif urged the West to abandon Musharraf but also ruled out teaming up with Benazir Bhutto, another key opposition leader, unless she cut off talks with Musharraf. The Guardian UK, November 7, 2007    

Pakistan civil society reacts

November 8, 2007

Lawyers boycotted district and sessions court and staged protest rallies against the imposition of emergency and removal of superior court judges and chanted anti-government and anti-Musharraf slogans. Dawn, November 8, 2007   Hundreds of lawyers took to the streets of Islamabad on the fourth consecutive day of the state of emergency to protest against Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf. Observed by the cameras of the international press the police kept a low profile, but behind the scenes thousands of lawyers, journalists, activists and citizens have been arrested or placed under house arrest all over the country. Radio Netherlands, November 7, 2007

Afghanistan in mourning

November 8, 2007

The blame for the suicide bomb attack on Tuesday in the town of Pul-i-Khumri in the northern Baghlan province, some 150 kilometers from Kabul, will almost inevitably be placed at the doorstep of the Taliban. Asia Times Online, November 8, 2007   As the funeral wrapped up, a crowd of about 700 men surged towards the graves holding up placards that read: "We want the arrest and punishment of those behind this brutal crime." AFP, November 8, 2007

US lawmakers take Yahoo to task

November 8, 2007

Yahoo isn't the only villain   The Internet giant is just one of many tech firms propping up China's totalitarian ways. By Peter Navarro Which company has committed the greater evil? Yahoo Inc. helped send a reporter to prison by revealing his identity to the Chinese government. Cisco Systems Inc. helps send thousands of Chinese dissidents to prison by selling sophisticated Internet surveillance technology to China. If bad press is to be the judge, the "stool pigeon" Yahoo is clearly the bigger villain. In 2004, after the Chinese government ordered the country's media not to report on the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, journalist Shi Tao used his Yahoo e-mail account to forward a government memo to a pro-democracy group. When China's Internet police — a force of 30,000 — uncovered this, it pressured Yahoo to reveal Shi's identity. Yahoo caved quicker than you can say Vichy France, and Shi is doing 10 years in a Chinese slammer for one click of his subversive mouse. For ratting out Shi, Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang has been dragged before Congress, called a "moral pygmy" and forced to issue an apology. In contrast, Cisco and Chief Executive John Chambers have received little public scrutiny for providing China's cadres of Comrade Orwells with the Internet surveillance technology they need to cleanse the Net of impure democratic thoughts. Los Angeles Times November 8, 2007            

Judicial revolt and kangaroo courts

November 7, 2007

Iftikhar Chaudhry, the Chief Justice whom Musharraf has deposed and put under "house arrest", has called upon the country's judicial community to lead a nationwide agitation against abrogation of the Constitution and imposition of "dictatorship".   By contrast, Musharraf was sworn into office, with great pomp and ceremony, by the few judges who were willing to comply, including a new Chief Justice.   Meanwhile, Benazir Bhutto, a former two-time Prime Minister, travelled from her home in Karachi to Islamabad, the capital. Some speculate it is to prepare for mass agitation, as many hope. Others charge it is to negotiate a secret deal with Musharraf.

Pakistani Army cuts a deal

November 6, 2007

The next day on November 4th, the Musharraf government cut a deal with insurgents in northwestern Pakistan who released 211 soldiers of the Pak army in exchange for release of 28 militants in government custody held on charges of terrorist activity and suicide bombings.   Observers in Pakistan noted the contrast.  

Global reaction to Pakistani state of emergency

November 6, 2007

"President General Pervez Musharraf told foreign diplomats based in Islamabad on Monday that despite the imposition of a state of emergency in the country, transition to full democracy would be completed soon." Dawn   "US takes a hit from Pakistan's turmoil." US News & World Report   "The real cause for concern is that the UK will deludedly believe that a military dictatorship offers a better bulwark against the Jihadists than a democratic government." The Guardian UK   "Bhutto may regret her gamble on Musharraf." Taipei Times