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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07ISLAMABAD4791
2007-11-08 12:32:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Islamabad
Cable title:  

INTERIOR MINISTER SHERPAO DISCUSSES ELECTIONS,

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  PHUM  PK 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 004791 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/09/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PK
SUBJECT: INTERIOR MINISTER SHERPAO DISCUSSES ELECTIONS,
SECURITY

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 004791

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/09/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PK
SUBJECT: INTERIOR MINISTER SHERPAO DISCUSSES ELECTIONS,
SECURITY

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


1. (C) Summary: Interior Minister Sherpao defended the
Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) and told DCM November
7 that elections likely would be delayed until March or
April. Sherpao gave his personal assurances over the
well-being of detained opposition lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan and
agreed to look into reports that the government was expelling
the International Republican Institute (IRI) and denying a
visa to the local leader of The Asia Foundation. He expressed
frustration with the political situation in the Northwest
Frontier Province (NWFP) and accused the USG of "not doing
enough" to stabilize the area and to assist moderate groups.
DCM promised to brief Sherpao on our security and development
plan for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and
said we would welcome ideas on how to improve the situation
in the NWFP. End Summary.

Elections
--------------


2. (C) In a November 7 meeting with Interior Minister Ahmed
Khan Sherpao, DCM reiterated USG concerns over emergency
rule, noting that USG officials were led to believe this was
a temporary condition, and that President Musharraf must
quickly announce a schedule for elections and the date he
will resign from the Army. Sherpao defended the PCO, saying
it was implemented because "there was no way within the
constitution" to address the judiciary's alleged interference
and to combat extremist elements in the NWFP, particularly in
Swat. Sherpao said that the GOP would likely 'delay'
elections until after the Muslim holiday of Moharrum in
January, and possibly until March or April 2008. He also
advocated for a "code of conduct" among political parties in
which public gatherings are prohibited. Sherpao did not know
whether President Musharraf would resign as Chief of Army
Staff.

Human Rights
--------------


3. (C) DCM expressed concern over the welfare of
anti-government Pakistan People's Party attorney Aitzaz
Ahsan, who was arrested November 3. Sherpao gave his

personal assurances that Ahsan is well cared-for, is
receiving his medicine; he promised to call Mrs. Ahsan to
arrange for her to visit her husband. Sherpao further
assured the DCM that, contrary to rumor, Aitzaz's wife is not
and would not be harassed by authorities. The DCM encouraged
Sherpao to release the lawyer as soon as possible, noting
that his detention has mobilized the international human
rights community and is causing tremendous problems for
Pakistan overseas. DCM pointed to a call Deputy Secretary
Negroponte received from Senator Conrad who informed him that
30 senators will sign a document expressing concern for the
lawyer. Upon the DCM's request, Sherpao said he would look
into arranging a visit between Aitzaz and USG officials.


4. (C) Sherpao claimed to have no knowledge of a letter sent
to the International Republican Institute (IRI) from the
Economic Affairs Division (EAD) instructing IRI to close. The
DCM remarked the State Department had chosen IRI to organize
our elections monitoring team, which would be in Pakistan
beginning November 20. Sherpao promised to address the issue
with his staff. DCM inquired as to why the visa of The Asia
Foundation's local director, Jon Summers, had been canceled.
Sherpao said he was unaware of this and would look into the
matter.


5. (C) Sherpao brushed aside concerns over allegations that
police officials are using a more forceful level of violence
against demonstrators. DCM warned that this issue would
reflect badly upon the minister, and the country's lawyers
are "up in arms" about the situation. Sherpao said former
president Zia al Haq used to employ public floggings to clamp
down on protesters; but did concede that authorities' use of
force is "a little in excess."

NWFP Security
--------------


6. (C) Sherpao expressed particular concern over USG

ISLAMABAD 00004791 002 OF 002


political engagement in the NWFP. He appeared frustrated
with his party's inability to mobilize in the area,
acknowledging its lack of support and the dominance there of
the religious parties. His cited a recent trip to his
village, where terror threats against him prevented movement
of any kind and left him feeling as though he had been held
"hostage." According to Sherpao, the security services now
deployed have not been able to maintain effective control,
and the governor needed to be replaced. Sherpao indicated he
is willing to turn to the opposition (read Benazir Bhutto)
for assistance. However, he accused the USG of not 'doing
enough' to help moderate parties in the NWFP fight against
terrorism and asked the USG to "come up with a plan." DCM
offered to brief Sherpao on the U.S. security and development
plan for the FATA and said we would welcome ideas on how to
help Pakistan improve security in the NWFP.


8. C) Comment: Sherpao is focused more on the security
situation than the political one, and his comments on the
election follow a pattern of contradictory remarks from party
and government officials. His concern about the rapidly
deteriorating situation in the NWFP, however, is well placed.
In Swat alone, Maulana Fazlullah now controls most of the
district, and Talibanization is spreading into the settled
areas. Neither massive Army intervention nor negotiations,
were successful and the GOP seems to have run out of ideas on
how to address the situation. With Musharraf focused on his
political future, it is unlikely that the GOP will find
solutions any time soon. End Comment.
PATTERSON