By Keith Jones
26 November 2007
Pakistan is now in its twenty-third full day of de facto martial law. Basic civil liberties have been suspended. Thousands of government opponents—members of opposition parties, lawyers, human rights activists and trade unionists—remain in detention. Police break up anti-government protests with baton charges and mass arrests on a daily basis and the US-supported, military-dominated government has made civilians who challenge the rule of General President Pervez Musharraf liable to court martial.
Yet, even as they fulminate against military rule, all major factions of Pakistan’s traditional bourgeois political establishment are angling for a deal with the military and its supporters and bankrollers in Washington.
Only after the military regime had twice placed Benazir Bhutto under house arrest and arrested and roughed up thousands of her supporters did the “life chairperson” of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) announce, November 12, that she had “definitively” broken off power-sharing negotiations with Musharraf.
Now, bowing to pressure from the Bush administration, Bhutto has signaled that her PPP will participate in the bogus national and provincial elections the military regime intends to hold January 8. And the other major parties, beginning with the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) of deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who returned to Pakistan yesterday, appear set to follow suit, thereby serving as direct accomplices of the military regime.