Houston Pakistani-Americans Rally Against Pakistan President

With the political situation in Pakistan getting worse by the day, Pakistani-Americans living in Houston are calling for an immediate return to democracy while condemning the country's president, who had declared emergency rule. Here's more from Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams.

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Protesters wave signs stating Shouting "Go Musharraf, go" outside the Pakistani Consulate in far north Houston, about two dozen Pakistani-Americans rallied against the situation in their homeland. They're angry that President Pervez Musharraf has suspended the country's constitution and fired the chief justice of the supreme court just days before a ruling on whether he can serve a third term as Pakistan's leader. Sajjad Burki is the president of the Pakistan American Council of Texas.

"Nobody really knows what's going to happen tomorrow, what's happening next, who gets arrested, who gets taken down. We're all sitting and watching kind of."

There are around 70,000 Pakistani-Americans living in Houston and many of them still have close relatives living in Pakistan.

"We want our brothers and sisters in Pakistan to know that we do support them, that we do not endorse what Musharraf is doing, that we want rule of law in Pakistan, that we want a free judiciary like every other nation in this world and we want to live in the new century. We don't want to be a banana republic."   

The Pakistani ConsulateHundreds of Pakistani lawyers have been detained by police officers this week and members of the country's army have surrounded the homes of supreme court justices. Amin Khan is an attorney here in Houston and says many of the people in Pakistan don't know what's happening.

"The most important thing is the media has been blacked-out. Nobody knows what going on. People are calling from Pakistan to the United States to find out what's going on. In this time of the world, this is unacceptable."

President Musharraf is also the army's chief officer, a role opponents, including former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, say he should give up. Moin Pirzada owns a gas station here in Houston and says the situation in Pakistan is sad.

"It should not be happening to the civil society, especially those who are educated people who give you the law, the definition of laws. They are just trying to show the rest of the civil society that look what we can do. We're in power and we can do anything we want."  

Pirzada says he'd like to see the restoration of democracy and rule of law immediately in Pakistan. 

 

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...