American foreign policy is predictable: say one thing and do another. And what is said is usually just a half-assed attempt to satisfy critics, like the “nonbinding resolutions” on the war in Iraq. Take the new developments in Pakistan. Two weeks ago, I blogged about the massive protests that have raked Pakistan as a result of General Musharraf’s decision to sack the too independent chief justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Chaudhry.
Yesterday, more than 200 people were arrested, prior on the eve of today’s protest where thousands of Pakistani opposition supporters rallied throughout Pakistan. In total, more than 1000 Pakistani protesters have been arrested.
Officials from the religious party Jaamat-e-Islami have even chimed in. Secretary General Syed Munawar Hasan:
“Gen Pervez Musharraf is subjugating all state institutions including the judiciary with the help of military power and he has dealt a deadly blow to the judiciary by suspending Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad.”
Hasan said the worst victims of Gen Musharraf’s era were the constitution, law and justice and all of them had been buried alive.
“The military rulers have enslaved 160 million people of the country at gunpoint and the crimes being committed on the people and sacred state institutions are the worst in the history of the country…It is ironic that Gen Musharraff always bows before the US but fires bullets at his own people.”
The US response? Nada. Oh, sure, some members of Congress are “reaching out” to the Pakistani people and “there should be more than one phone number there to dial,” but nothing substantial. Some members wrote a letter to Musharraf, asking him to hold fair and free elections while still wearing his uniform.
You don’t ask a military dictator to enact democracy. But the U.S. doesn’t really care if democracy reigns in Pakistan. If we did, the administration would have given explicit support to the protesters, organizations, parties, and the legal community in Pakistan which are demanding democracy.
Instead, the administration simply says that the situation is a “sensitive” issue. Plus, Congress isn’t exactly moving to halt military aid to Musharraf either.
Musharraf has requested that the issue not be politicized: “I appeal to all lawyers that they should let this constitutional and legal process be completed. It should not be made a law and order or political issue,” he said. Pakistani protesters may not comply, but the US sure will. After all, this is how we do it.