News Release

* Pakistan * Caucasus

The Washington Post is reporting: “Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, once a top U.S. ally, is expected to resign in the next few days, according to Pakistani officials.”

ALI AHSAN
Aitzaz Ahsan, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association in Pakistan, was the first person jailed when Musharraf declared a state of emergency on Nov. 3, 2007. Aitzaz Ahsan’s son, Ali Ahsan, also a lawyer, is currently in the U.S.

SHAHID MAHMOOD
Mahmood was an editorial cartoonist for Dawn, a national newspaper in Pakistan. He is now internationally syndicated with the New York Times Syndicate. He said today: “Musharraf was in a position where he had lost the confidence of the people of Pakistan as well as the international powers that be. Islamists have also consolidated a power base that Musharraf had no answer for. Removing Musharraf does not necessarily mean that democracy has taken root. Pakistan has been run by vendettas and as a personal bank account for certain politicians and may be so again. What’s needed are grassroots organizations to help ensure healthcare, education, freedom of the press — all things that will lead to meaningful stability.”
More Information

ANITA WEISS
Weiss is in the U.S. until Aug. 19, and will be available by email while abroad. She is co-editor of the book Power and Civil Society in Pakistan and is professor of international studies at the University of Oregon.

She said today: “This is a positive step for democracy in Pakistan. The fact that the government could get Musharraf to step down is significant. It’s an important first step in restoring the judiciary, which Musharraf had dismissed. Pakistan is in severe economic crisis which desperately needs attention.”
More Information

ANDREI KAMENSHIKOV
Kamenshikov is a representative of Nonviolence International focusing on the Caucasus region, where he has worked on peace building activities since 1992. He is currently visiting family in Minneapolis and will be in Washington, D.C. early next week before returning to Moscow.

He said today: “This is all a tragedy for Russia, for Georgia, for all involved. It’s important to understand that this is linked to other international developments over the last two decades. Early in the 1990s, there was the hope of building a world order based on international law, but this was severely undermined by such events as the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, invasion of Iraq in 2003 and recent recognition of Kosovo’s self-proclaimed independence — all in direct breach of existing international regulations. So various actors who might have already been inclined to use force saw that might makes right. For Georgia it became feasible to try restoring its territorial integrity by shelling a city from heavy artillery and multiple rocket launchers. For Russia — to counter Georgia’s move by an all-out military response.

“Certainly there are some who are now celebrating victory, but in the long run even they will realize what a disaster this is. Russia has many ethnic groups, it has territorial disputes along its borders and a shrinking population. Who knows how its current behavior will play out in the future. Until we reach an international consent about how to deal with similar situations, wherever they develop, until we use the same principles and standards — similar tragedies may continue to occur.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167