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Tuesday, June 24, 2003

They justify killing thousands and spending billions to rid the world of a "dangerous tyrant,"

and then they give $3 billion to this guy, who ALREADY HAS NUCLEAR WEAPONS:

Since coming to power in a military coup, General Musharraf has shown no signs of relinquishing rule to a democratically elected civilian government, despite repeated promises to do so. Indeed, in the months preceding Pakistan's October 2002 parliamentary elections, the Musharraf administration took measures that all but ensured a military-controlled government. Chief among them were an April 2002 referendum that extended Musharraf's presidential term for five years, and constitutional amendments announced in August of the same year that formalized the military's role in governance and extended restrictions on political party activities.
Torture is routinely used in Pakistan, both to obtain confessions in criminal cases and against political opponents of the government. A recent example is the chilling case of detention and torture of Rana Sanaullah Khan, a member of the suspended Punjab provincial assembly. Khan was arrested under the sedition law for criticizing the military government in November 1999. He was whipped, beaten, held incommunicado and interrogated for a week in police custody before eventually being released on bail. In October 2002, Sanaullah was re-elected to the Punjab Assembly and elected deputy leader of the opposition in the house. On March 8, 2003, he was abducted on the road by heavily armed men, some of whom wore police uniforms. According to Sanaullah:

I was handcuffed and, with my face covered with a cloth, I was driven to the ISI office where I was tortured for three or four hours. They were using some sharp-edged weapon with which they would cut open my skin and then rub some sort of chemical in the wound. I felt as if I was on fire every time they did that. I have 22 such injuries on my body. Later, I was pushed into a car and thrown on a service lane along the motorway some 20 kilometers from Faisalabad. I walked for two kilometers to a filling station from where I contacted my family and was finally shifted to a hospital.
Under Pakistan's existing Hudood Ordinance, a woman who has been raped and wants the state to prosecute her case must have four Muslim men testify that they witnessed the assault. In the absence of these male witnesses, the rape victim has no case. Equally alarming, if a woman cannot prove the rape allegation she runs a very high risk of being charged with fornication or adultery, the criminal penalty for which is either a long prison sentence, including public whipping, or, though rare, death by stoning. The testimony of women carries half the weight of a man's under this ordinance. Further, the Qisas (retribution) and Diyat (compensation) Ordinance makes it possible for crimes of honor (such as the killing of women in the name of honor) to be pardoned by relatives of the victim and assesses monetary compensation for female victims at half the rate of male victims. These are just part of a set of "Islamic" penal laws introduced by the former military ruler, General Zia ul-Haq in 1979, which have been left intact by General Musharraf.

In early June, the provincial legislature of the North West Frontier Province passed a resolution imposing "Sharia laws" in the province. Some aspects of this law will result in de jure discrimination against women, raising fears about Taliban-style policies towards women in this and other parts of the country. General Musharraf has publicly warned against this kind of extremism, but he and the Pakistani government should be urged to take concrete measures to protect the basic rights of women in conformity with international norms.
-- from Human Rights Watch.