Pakistan gets lost in translation

The meaning of language is an amazing thing.

On Saturday, President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan.

What that actually meant in reality was clearly open to interpretation.

His text talked of the need to tackle the visible ascendancy in the activities of extremists. On paper, perhaps, thats fair enough. However, quite how that can lead to the arrest of over 500 opposition politicians, the baton-charging of lawyers, the former cricket legend turned politician Imran Khan going on the run to avoid house arrest, and the rounding up of dozens of human rights activists is beyond me. It must have got lost in translation

I cant imagine it was what Benazir Bhutto envisaged when she decided to return from exile.

Given the examples coming out of neighbouring states, all does not bode well.

In Bangladesh, Jahangir Alam Akash, the head of a local television office and a known critic of Government security forces, has been reportedly tortured and is the subject of the latest Amnesty Urgent Action.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan continues to have its own horror stories with consistent reports of torture and ill-treatment by the Afghanistan intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

Fingers crossed that Musharraf manages to listen to world opinion soon before its too late.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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