US Activists Confront Patterson About US Government’s Support for Musharraf
Anne Patterson, US Ambassador to the Pakistan, went to the
home/office of Pakistani lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan, but was not allowed to
meet with him because he is under house arrest. The Ambassador met with
Mr. Ahsan’s wife, Bushra Ahsan, and colleagues. Emerging from the
meeting, she addressed the press and called for the release of Mr.
Ahsan. The Ambassador, however, did not call for the reinstatement of
the judiciary or the lifting of restrictions on the press.
At the end of her brief remarks, two visiting US human rights activists
who had spent the previous 24 hours at a vigil at Mr. Ahsan’s home,
Medea Benjamin and Tighe Barry, confronted the Ambassador. They
shouted: “Why is the Bush Administration continuing to support
Musharraf? He is not a democrat. He is beating and imprisoning lawyers,
judges and students. The U.S. should support the real democrats—civil
society—not Musharraf.” They were pushed and shoved by the Ambassador’s
security detail, but they kept repeating the remarks as the Ambassador
was whisked away in her car. The activists represent the human rights
group Global Exchange and the peace group CODEPINK.
Afterwards, Pakistani lawyers did their own press conference, relating
the stories of the terrible treatment they received when beaten and
jailed by the police after the imposition of Emergency Rule on November
3. They called for the freeing of Atizar Ahsan and all the lawyers and
judges who remain in detention, and the restoration of an independent