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PAKISTAN: The democracy of boots, bullets, and brutality

By Mumia Abu-Jamal  Posted by Hans Bennett (about the submitter)     Permalink
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PAKISTAN: The 'democracy' of boots, bullets and brutality
{col. writ. 9/15/07}
(c) '07 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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America's 'allies' in the so-called 'war on terror', are often at war with their own societies -- and more often than not, they are at war with democracy.
 
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It is an odd thing to hear the Bush regime and its media puppets echo the claim that the wars in the Middle East are to 'spread democracy', when the very countries that have signed up for this dubious project are -- well, let's not beat around the bush -- dictatorships.
 
In Pakistan, a country carved out of the northwest of India, as the British Imperial Raj was on the wane, is a huge country of roughly 150 million people, and roughly the size of California (or, from another perspective, 1/2 the size of Alaska).
 
It may be an ally, but it's hardly a democracy.
 
Pakistan has been ruled, since a 1999 coup, by a military dictatorship, headed by Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Musharraf came to power after a row between the military and the elected leadership over Pakistan's intentions on Kashmir ( a majority Muslim region that is part of India).
 
When the former Pakistani prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, tried to discipline the army by firing Gen. Musharraf from his post, the military struck back.
 
From then till now, Pakistan has been under the thumb of its military.
 
The military runs vast swathes of Pakistan's economy, from construction companies to bottled water industries.
 
It runs the nations's media, and sits at the highest levels of the nation's universities.
As the demonstrations that erupted hen Gen. Musharraf attempted to remove a sitting Supreme Court justice has shown, there is considerable social discontent with the heavy hand of the military over almost all sectors of Pakistani life.
 
When Nawaz Sharif boarded a plane in London several days ago, to try to return to his homeland, he described his efforts as "a final battle" between "dictatorship and democracy."
 
The former prime minister said his return signified it was "time that we put an end to this menace of dictatorship." *
 
But if this was a battle between dictatorship and democracy, dictatorship won. For police and military officials cordoned off the airport, and stopped traffic to it for miles around.
 
Sharif was arrested shortly after his arrival, and hundreds of his supporters were beaten in Rawalpindi.
 
According to an account in the New York Times (9/11/07) almost the "entire leadership" of Sharif's opposition party were arrested.
 
A Pakistani Supreme Court ruling recently held that Sharif was free to return to Pakistan, and to run for office.
 
According to Sharif, "Mr. Musharraf does not believe in the rule of law."
 
Before 4 hours had passed, Sharif was back on a plane, but bound, once again, for Saudi Arabia, exiled by his military opponents.
 
Sharif questioned how an American president could support Musharraf.
 
"President Bush is somehow supporting an individual who today has become a symbol of hatred in Pakistan, a man whom everybody in Pakistan wants to get rid of."*
 
How does one 'spread democracy' by supporting military juntas?
 
For generations, we heard the same claims used to support death squads which ravaged Latin America. Men trained at the place called Las escuelas de golpas, (or coup school) led to brutal wars against workers, trade unionists, nuns, priests, and indigenous people, all in the name of 'protecting democracy,' (Those schools are here in the US!)
 
And what is an ally, which must be threatened with extermination, in order to secure it's alliance?
 
Published reports have already assured us that high level US officials, in the aftermath of 9-11, threatened to 'nuke Pakistan' unless it joined this so-called 'war on terror.'
 
Why not the use of terror in this so-called 'war on terror?'
 
Why not the use of military dictatorships in this claimed war 'to spread democracy?'
-- (c) '07 maj
 
 
{*Source: Gall, Carlotta, "Pakistan Edgy As Ex-Premier Is Exiled Again, " New York Times, Tues., Sept. 11, 2007, pp.A1 - A8.}
Mr. Jamal's recent book features a chapter on the
remarkable women who helped build and defend
the Black Panther Party: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org');">http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
#1-800-533-8478.]
===============================


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