LAHORE, Dec 5: Two American peace activists, who had been detained by police on Tuesday night, were deported to Washington on Wednesday evening.
Medea Benjamin and Tighe Barry of the Code Pink peace and social justice movement came to Pakistan on a fact-finding and ‘peace activism’ mission when they were detained at the Race Course police station.
Advocate Khurram Latif Khosa, who drove them to the airport, told Dawn: “The order of deportation has been executed and they would like to make it clear that they left under protest. They are under immense shock and cutting their trip short. This has also caused them great financial loss.”
At the airport, they were met by a group of children who cheered them and shouted “Pakistan Zindabad, American people Zindabad”.
Medea Benjamin said: “We will be going to attend the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on ‘US foreign assistance to Pakistan’ to meet with Senators and call for funding to Pakistan to be cut.”
Earlier at the Lahore Press Club, they addressed a press conference and narrated in detail the events of the previous evening.
Ms Benjamin said: “We are absolutely appalled. We condemn the government for the way they treated us and for the way they are treating lawyers, judges, students, the press – we say there can be no free and fair elections in Pakistan without restoring the judiciary.
“We are going home very angry at the government. We see this as not a democracy, but a dictatorship. Musharraf is a dictator. If he can do this to us – we are privileged because we have US passports – what can they do to their own citizens?”