wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07ISLAMABAD4754
2007-11-06 14:31:00
CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
Embassy Islamabad
Cable title:  

MGPK01: SITREP 08, AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD: LAWYERS'

Tags:   AEMR  AMGT  CASC  KFLO  PGOV  PINR  PK  PREL 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO9177
OO RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHIL #4754/01 3101431
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 061431Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3047
INFO RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 7702
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 6635
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 2131
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI PRIORITY 7908
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 3941
RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 2463
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 3191
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 004754 

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/06/2017
TAGS: AEMR AMGT CASC KFLO PGOV PINR PK PREL
SUBJECT: MGPK01: SITREP 08, AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD: LAWYERS'
PROTESTS CONTINUE

REF: ISLAMABAD 4739

Classified By: Anne W. Patterson, Reasons 1.4 (b), (d)



1. (C) Summary: Overall, the country remains calm.
Sporadic lawyers' demonstrations occurred through the
country, some involving police beatings of journalists and
activists. The government agreed in theory to release
50-60 human rights activists in Lahore, but a paperwork
glitch postponed their release until tomorrow morning.
Human rights groups see this as a purposeful delay. The PM
chaired a cabinet meeting to discuss a timetable for
elections; the National Assembly is scheduled to meet
November 7 to discuss the political situation. Benazir
Bhutto arrived in Islamabad for a series of meetings and
rallies. Press curbs have not been lifted on transmission
of private TV news channels. All mission offices continued
to operate normally. End summary.



2. (C) The government is calling the National Assembly
into session November 7, but it is unclear if they will
be voting on the Provisional Constitutional Order (CPO) or
will only be briefed on the CPO Media report that Prime
Minister Aziz chaired a cabinet meeting to discuss a
timetable for parliamentary elections; no decisions have
been announced as yet.



3. (C) Responding to international concerns, particularly
ours, Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi informed
PO Lahore that the 50-60 Human Rights Commission of
Pakistan members currently under house arrest would be
released on bail. The magistrate has delayed the release,
and human rights groups see this as intentional.



4. (U) In an TV interview today, Asma Jahangir of the
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that efforts to
get Musharraf to remove his uniform and hold free and fair
elections without delay is good, but not enough. Efforts
also need to target human rights abuses and the suspension
of free media. She is still under house arrest.



5. (U) Ambassador called on the Election Commissioner to
urge that elections be held on schedule. He assured her
that he had no information to the contrary and was
proceeding with electoral plans as soon as President
Musharraf decides on a timetable. Following the meeting,
Ambassador gave an interview to CBS and Pakistan
Television.



6. (U) Embassy sources report that all senior members of
Pakistan's many bar associations have been arrested,
leaving the lawyer's movement without leadership. The
total number of lawyers arrested in Lahore has reportedly
reached 400 while "hundreds" more according to the media
have been detained in Karachi. The Karachi Bar Association
is on strike. At least 300-400 lawyers gathered at
Peshawar's High Court, and other protest rallies were held
at two bazaars in the city. In Lahore, a small peaceful

protest took place at the Lahore University of Management.



7. (U) CG Karachi reports that at least six journalists
were arrested outside the Karachi Press Club while covering
a pro-democracy demonstration; at least one was beaten by
police. There are reports of journalists and political
activists (particularly Sindhi nationalists) being beaten
in Sindh and Balochistan following gatherings at press club
or bar association events. Police have been posted at the
Peshawar Press Club to arrest anyone going there to protest
the CPO and journalists have been warned that any
resistance will bring punitive action.



8. (U) In Quetta yesterday, the Pashtoonkhwa National
Democratic Alliance (PNDA), an alliance of the Pashtoonkhwa
Milli Awami party whose leader was arrested in Quetta,
called a successful strike in the city. A rally organized
by the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) was planned for
this afternoon in Peshawar, although some senior leaders
are under house arrest.



9. (C) Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader Benazir

ISLAMABAD 00004754 002 OF 002


Bhutto arrived in Islamabad an plans party meetings for
November 7, a campaign rally in Rawalpindi November 9, and
a reception for the diplomatic corps on November 10. PPP
sources said the party has no plans to protest the PCO
because "we have not been asked." Bhutto reportedly plans
to call a meeting of the Alliance for the Restoration of
Democracy (ARD) and may also meet Musharraf at a date/time
yet to be determined.



10. (C) At a weekly diplomatic meeting of "like-minded"
countries, representatives from Commonwealth countries were
in agreement that the Ministers' Action Group (CMAG) would
threaten suspension of Pakistan's membership in the
Commonwealth. Many representatives indicated that November
15 is a watershed date for their government. The EC
Parliament is reportedly "reviewing" its aid package.



11. (U) The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) recovered by
less than 1 per cent after a nearly five per cent drop
yesterday. Analysts speculated that the market would
recover since the majority of yesterday's losses was based
on unfounded rumors that Musharraf was under house arrest.
Yesterday's per cent drop was small in comparison to
past market reactions to other major events in Pakistan's
recent history. The KSE lost 12.4 per cent after Pakistan
launched nuclear tests in May 1998, and lost 7.1 per cent
after Musharraf deposed Nawaz Sharif in October 1999.



12. (U) Moody's Investors Service downgraded the outlook
on Pakistan's B1 and B2 foreign and local currency
government bonds from stable to negative, which underscores
how vulnerable Pakistan's economy is to political
uncertainty. Musharraf's political difficulties now appear
to be a greater threat to investor confidence than
previously. A further ratings downgrade could occur if
external capital flows decrease significantly or if a
loss of domestic confidence led to a slowdown in economic
activity. Standard and Poors cut its evaluation trip
short after the imposition of the state of emergency.

PATTERSON