Zardari Condemns Public Protests as Undemocratic

Sharif Rejects Settlement Offer, Calls for 17th Amendment Abolition

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari lashed out at the hundreds of thousands of people taking part in the Long March protests across the nation, saying they were behaving in a manner contrary to “democratic norms” in taking to the streets to protest the decisions of the government. “In democracy issues are resolved by sitting together,” Zardari said.

Of course the ability of opposition members to meet with the President regarding his imposition of emergency rule across much of the nation has been seriously hampered by the fact that they tend to get arrested when they show their faces in public.

The protests against the government crackdown on opposition parties have company, however, as journalists across the nation are now protesting against the government’s ban of the nation’s most popular news network.

The reported reconciliation talks between the government and the opposition appear to be stalled, however, as opposition leader Nawaz Sharif has ruled out accepting a deal for personal political gains in return for backing off criticism of the broader issues at stake. Sharif has been pressing for the return to power of all judges ousted by then-President Pervez Musharraf and the abolition of the 17 Amendment to the Pakistani Constitution, which strengthened the power of the presidency and gave retroactive legitimacy to the rule of the Musharraf junta after the 1999 military coup.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.