Protests in Pakistan – Against Religious Fundamentalism & President Musharraf

7 Apr

It appears that the worrying situation in Pakistan is growing .

According to a BBC report, Maulana Abdul Aziz, the leader of a radical mosque in Islamabad has called for video shops and brothels within the city to be shut down within one month. They have also threatened to use suicide bomb attacks if the government clamp down on the two madrassas ( one for male and the other for female students) attached to the mosque.

The female arm has kidnapped a woman for two days who was accused of running a brothel. Other students are also staging an armed occupation of a children’s library in the capital.

Their action has met with protest by hundreds of human rights activists. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and several NGOs have also urged the public to resist against these “extremist religious” forces.

In addition to the growing threat of religious extremism, there has been an April 3rd protests outside Islamabad’s Supreme Court, calling for the resignation of the President, Pervez Musharraf.

The protest was sparked by the dismissal of Iftikhar Chaudhry, Pakistan’s most senior judge, about a month ago. Critics accuse Musharraf for suspending the judge to weaken the judiciary so that he can remain army chief past 2007, when he is supposed to relinquish his position under the constitution. He is also expected to seek re-election for another five-year presidential term.

While the protests were first started by the lawyers, it has now increased to include the public and Opposition politicians. The latter claimed police arrested hundreds of supporters the night before the rally.

Would these various unrests culminate and grow to the extent that the general population might be roped in to erode and topple the military regime? How can neighbouring and regional countries or even regional groupings such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation help prevent the country slide into further crisis? (such as the situation in Zimbawe)

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