One of the things I’ve been noticing in Dawn, an e-mail newsletter I’ve been receiving from Pakistan, is how often it reports U.S. government attitudes towards the country. We certainly aren’t as worried about what Pakistan’s government thinks of us.
Pakistan joined Bush’s war on liberty shortly after the 9/11 attacks in part to avoid becoming a target itself. Attitudes amongst the people themselves, however, vary. Afghan officials suspect that Osama bin Laden “is hiding in the urban warrens of one of Pakistan’s major cities.” There is a vocal Islamist minority that seeks to impose Sharia law, and the country is subject to the occasional anti-democratic “state of emergency.”
Another such “state of emergency” was declared over the weekend, drawing back out the lawyers whose protests had previously succeeded in restoring Pakistan’s Supreme Court Chief Justice to his position after being sacked by Pakistan’s President General Pervez Musharraf. This time it wasn’t just the Chief Justice who was sacked but a great many of the country’s judges. After some brief hesitation, politicians around the world, including George Bush, have criticized the move.
The Supreme Court was due to rule on Musharraf’s eligibility to serve as president despite his military role and there has been much speculation that this was behind the state of emergency.
We have already seen one uprising in Myanmar (Burma) brutally suppressed this year. The regime in Pakistan seems set to do the same. I always wonder, how successful such a suppression can truly be.