Kerry Condemns Bhutto House Arrest in Pakistan
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East and South and Central Asian Affairs, which includes Pakistan, urged President Musharraf to release opposition leader Benazir Bhutto today, in response to Musharraf placing Bhutto under House arrest by force.
"Today, President Musharraf took a very troubling and contradictory step away from putting Pakistan back on the path to civilian democracy. One day President Musharraf says he intends to hold elections and restore normalcy, the next day he places Benazir Bhutto under house arrest. The United States needs to send a strong message to the government of Pakistan by using our leverage to push to restore the rule of law and move forward with crucial democratic reforms. That means making it clear we will suspend military aid not related to the fight against Al Qaeda if President Musharraf does not follow through on his pledges to take steps towards restoring civilian democracy."
Yesterday, Senator Kerry was joined by Senator Biden in calling on President Musharraf to end Pakistan's state of emergency and reinstate the Constitution. The Kerry-Biden Resolution urges that U.S. military assistance to Pakistan should be carefully reviewed. It further asserts that aid for certain weapons systems not directly related to fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban should be suspended if President Musharraf does not revoke the state of emergency, restore the Constitution, follow through on the pledge to relinquish his position as Chief of the Army and allow for free and fair elections to be held in accordance with the timeframe announced yesterday by the Government of Pakistan.