After President Musharraf imposed martial law on Pakistan, over 2,500 lawyers gathered for a protest march in Lahore. As they began to move onto the streets, they were met by hundreds of police who charged at them swinging batons and beating them to the ground before at least 250 were dragged off and sent to police stations. Musharraf claims he is a supporter of democracy, but due to terrorist attacks on northwest Pakistan, the emergence of political parties challenging his rule, and the expected negative decision the Pakistan Supreme Court would hand down on his illegal election, the leader of Pakistan decided to forgo his supposed belief in democracy in order to retain power. At least 67 supporters of Benazir Bhutto already have been arrested along with dozens of other critics of his policies. Musharraf says elections will be held in a year– at least that is his present view. Secretary of State Rice responded to his action by saying, “We believe the best path for Pakistan is to quickly return to a constitutional path and then to hold elections.”
The actions of Musharraf merely illustrate the continued failure of Bush foreign policy ventures. It becomes increasingly impossible to identify a single example in which his foreign policy has done anything but lead to the emergence of terrorism and chaos in the world. Rice hints at suspension of aid to Pakistan, but will she really go through with such action if there are renewed militant attacks in the northwest region of the country? In one way or another, the Bush gamble to give Musharraf unqualified support increasingly appears to be a major foreign policy mistake.