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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Australian government should have the guts to condemn the state of emergency in Pakistan by Socialist Alliance

Socialist Alliance Victorian Senate candidate Margarita Windisch calls for protests against repression unleashed by the Musharraf government.

“The Australian government shouldn’t be so spineless in its relations with General Pervez Musharaff’s dictatorship in Pakistan,” said the Socialist Alliance’s Victorian Senate candidate Margarita Windisch today.

“It should come out strongly and call for the lifting of the state of emergency and the immediate release of all the judges, lawyers, trade unionists, human rights activists and civil society activists who have been arrested.”

“If John Howard and Alexander Downer were seriously concerned about what is happening in Pakistan, they would be calling for the treason charges against trade union leader Liaquat Ali Shah and four others to be dropped. The treason charge carries a death penalty.

“They would also be calling for the anti-terrorist charges against leaders of the Labour Party Pakistan to be dropped,” said Windisch.

Windisch, who was a key organiser of protests against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, believes that the Australian government is in a compromised position because of its pro-war alliance with the United States.

“When General Pervez Musharaff came to power through a coup in 1999, the US and Australian governments barely whispered any concern. That is because Musharaff was the US government’s favoured leader for Pakistan and ally in the US’s war on terror.

“That’s why the US and Australian governments treat Musharraf with kid gloves,” said Windisch.”

The Socialist Alliance calls on the Australian government to immediately recall its High Commissioner in protest, terminate all Australian support and cooperation with the Musharraf regime.

Socialist Alliance also calls on all democratic minded people to join protests against the repression in Pakistan.

For interviews contact: Margarita Windisch 0438 869 790

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