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Guess Who's Coming to Town?
Bush in Pakistan
by FAHEEM HUSSAIN

Islamabad, Pakistan.

As I left my office this evening I saw with apprehension three sinister dark helicopter gunships patrolling low over Islamabad. I wondered who they were protecting. Then I realised that a murderer, in fact a mass murderer, will be in town tomorrow. But the helicopters were not there to protect the people of Islamabad from this murderer but they were there to protect the murderer from the wrath of the people of the world.

Tomorrow the most hated man in the world will be in town and will be welcomed by our President. Mush and Bush make a fine pair. Before Bush left Washington he said that he would ask Musharraf to close down terrorist camps in Pakistan. I wonder if our general will ask Bush to close down the biggest terror camp of them all, Guantanomo, where the terrorists are the US Army personnel who perform torture on the inmates. But why should he? He is after all implicated in these crimes against humanity. He and his Foreign Minister proudly proclaim that they are in the frontlines of the war against terror and that they have handed over more than 700 suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists to the US which incarcerates them illegally without trial and without recourse to any legal system in Guantanomo.

By their own words they admit that they have done illegal actions; midnight arrests of Pakistanis and foreigners and bundling into secret CIA flights without due process of law in front of Pakistani courts.

So how can they protest? They are themselves complicit in these crimes against humanity, let alone the violation of the Pakistani constitution and Pakistani laws. But when did violation of the constitution or the law ever matter to the various generals who have run the country? Why should our good general protest about people illegally locked away in far Guantanomo?

We have our own mini-Guantanomos right here in our own backyard. We have our own illegalities. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan hundreds of Pakistanis have disappeared in the last few years. They have been picked up by intelligence agencies and never heard of again. Are they being tortured? Are they dead? No answers are forthcoming. In the name of fighting Al-Qaeda Pakistani villages have been bombed not only by the Pakistan army but by the US and many Pakistani civilians, including women and children, have been killed.

Tomorrow there will be in Islamabad a man whose hands are covered in the blood of the innocents massacred in Afghanistan, in Rafah, Jenin, Jabaliya, Gaza, Najaf, Fallujah, Samarrah, etc. The killing in Iraq continues. Not content with creating chaos in Iraq with a daily death toll of more than a hundred, Bush is now intent on attacking Iran. He is not only a murderer but a pyrotechnician. Nero does not hold a candle to him Nero was content to see Rome burn but this madman wants to see the whole of the Middle East burn.

Arundhati Roy in an excellent article in the Guardian today (1 March) said that Bush is not welcome in India. Equally he is not welcome in Pakistan. If it wasn’t for the complete security blockade of Islamabad and if there was democracy (that so much abused concept) and freedom of assembly in Pakistan, Bush would be welcomed by demonstrations against his policies in the US and worldwide. There is no country in the world, outside the United States, where he can move freely and where he will not face demonstrations. However much his security detail and his ever-obliging hosts try to shield him, he knows that he is an unwelcome guest wherever he goes.

FAHEEM HUSSAIN is a Pakistani physicist. He can be reached at: hussainf@ictp.it