Welcome to President Musharraf

Its all go on Pakistan this weekend.

President Pervez Musharraf arrives on these shores later today as part of a four-day visit. As The Telegraph reports, hes already spent most of the week gallivanting around Europe trying to convince all and sundry that everything is a bed of roses in Pakistan ahead of next months elections. Such hopes are slightly undermined by news from the BBC that dozens of people have been killed in renewed fighting in the north of country.

Obviously Amnesty couldnt let such a high-profile visit go by without some sort of comment and our press release condemning the ongoing human right violations in Pakistan led to a stream of radio interviews this morning.

Our action continues tomorrow when British lawyers are set to lead an Amnesty backed demonstration outside Downing Street.

Their counterparts in Pakistan have been particularly badly hit by Musharrafs regime.

During the first few days of the recent State of Emergency, 1,734 lawyers and political activists were arrested in Punjab and 489 in Sindh as The Times reported. In one incident 350 lawyers were arrested at the Lahore High Court alone.

Musharraf also gave himself ultimate legal powers and sacked 12 of the 17 Supreme Court judges replacing them with his own yes men.

Hardly the appropriate backdrop for free and fair elections.

On Monday, Musharraf is due to meet Gordon Brown and you can rest assured that Amnestys press team is already planning some wise words of advice for the British PM.

Elsewhere, Burma is back in the news. Amnesty researchers have recently unearthed news that another 100 political activists have been rounded up by the military junta, despite their earlier reassurances to the United Nations that such arrests would be halted. CNN covers the story extensively.

Since the violent crackdown back in September, very few people have been brave enough to be visible in their dissent. Instead, most of the protests have become increasingly sophisticated and subtle.

One such case involved the poet Saw Wai.

He wrote a hidden message condemning the junta in a poem published in the magazine Love Journal. Unfortunately, as The Independent reported today, it was spotted and he has now been arrested.

Fingers crossed that he is released soon.

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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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