ID: 128587 11/4/2007 9:33 07ISLAMABAD4695 Embassy Islamabad SECRET//NOFORN 07ISLAMABAD4691|07ISLAMABAD4692|07ISLAMABAD4693|07ISLAMABAD4694 "VZCZCXRO7278 OO RUEHLH RUEHPW DE RUEHIL #4695/01 3080933 ZNY SSSSS ZZH O 040933Z NOV 07 FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2940 INFO RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 7679 RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 6605 RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 2089 RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI PRIORITY 7843 RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 3898 RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 2410 RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 3165 RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY" "S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 004695
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/04/2017 TAGS: AEMR, AMGT, ASEC, CASC, KFLO, PINR, PK, PREL SUBJECT: MGPK01: SITREP 03, AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD; QUIET SUNDAY MORNING; GROWING DISSIDENT ARRESTS
REF: A. TD 3/CA/161-07 B. ISLAMABAD 4694 C. ISLAMABAD 4693 D. ISLAMABAD 4692 E. ISLAMABAD 4691
Classified By: Anne W. Patterson for reasons 1.4 (b), (d)
1. (C) SUMMARY. Pakistan's first morning under the state of emergency was a quiet one throughout Pakistan. Both Embassy and Consulates report business as usual on the streets. However, we are receiving increasing reports of arrests of opposition figures and human rights activists. The government has continued disruption of private television news stations, although newspapers distributed their usual Sunday editions. The MFA convoked chiefs of mission to explain the emergency situation; Ambassador protested the heavy handed and thuggish implementation of the emergency measures. DCM called Presidential Advisor Tariq Aziz to request a meeting for the Ambassador with President Musharraf. DCM told Aziz the U.S. was deeply concerned that Musharraf in his speech last night had not mentioned a timetable for elections or his resignation as Army Chief of Staff. The U.S. was also deeply disturbed over the arrests of political opposition figures and human rights activists and the continued government block on private TV news channels. Post held an EAC meeting this morning. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) Although some roads remain blocked, especially Islamabad's Constitution Avenue in front of the Supreme Court, the first day under the state of emergency began like any other Sunday for most Pakistanis. Consulates Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar all report that shops have opened as usual and people began to move about on regular weekend business.
3. (U) The government continues to block transmission of private TV news stations. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has issued a new order restricting the press from criticizing the President or the government (see septel reporting). Sunday morning newspapers - both English and Urdu - were disturbed as usual. Land and mobile phone service remains sporadic.
4. (C) There are increasing reports of the arrest and detention of up to 100 human rights activists, political opposition figures and lawyers. This includes the house arrest of prominent human rights activist Asma Jahangir and Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf (PTI) President Imran Khan, and the arrest of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in-country leader Javed Hashmi. The bulk of political arrests appear aimed at members of the All Parties Democratic Movement, which includes PML-N, PTI and the religious parties, but not the Pakistan People's Party (PPP). Bhutto returned to Karachi last night and is holding talks with PPP leaders today. Opposition parties and civil rights activists are planning for large demonstrations across the country on November 5. The government continues to replace members of the Supreme Court and provincial high court judiciary (septel).
5. (U) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs convoked chiefs of missions for a briefing this morning. The U.S. was briefed along with the UK, Canada, EU missions and Australia; Islamic countries were briefed separately. A clearly uncomfortable Foreign Secretary Riaz Khan walked Ambassadors through the details of the President's speech, reiterated Pakistan would need the help and patience of the international community and claimed that government is fully functioning and that “martial law” has not been imposed. The Ambassador strongly condemned the heavy handed and thuggish nature of the implementation of the emergency measures, citing in particular the 90-day house arrest of Asma Jahangir (who presents no threat to Pakistani security, but whose arrest will be widely seen in the west as wildly excessive) and the police interference in the operations of the electronic media. The UK, EU, Japan, France, Australia and Canada all expressed their concerns regarding imposition of emergency measures and restoration of democracy.
6. (C) DCM called Presidential Advisor Tariq Aziz to request a meeting for Ambassador with President Musharraf as soon as possible and delivered strong talking points. He said the U.S. was deeply disturbed by the decision to suspend the constitution and was disappointed that last night Musharraf failed in his speech to mention a schedule for elections or his plans to resign as Chief of Army Staff. This was a missed opportunity that should be rectified as soon as possible. DCM also said the U.S. was disturbed at increasing reports of arrests of opposition leaders and human rights activists and urged that the government immediate remove blocks on the transmission of private TV news channels. Aziz claimed the international channels had been shut off in error and said he would try to have them reopened soonest.
7. (S/NF) Post convened an abbreviated EAC where RSO noted that all was quiet, but that roadblocks were making travel challenging in some areas. While the committee agreed there was no need to contemplate drawdown at this time, the DCM noted that Post would review staffing reports should such consideration become necessary. Appropriate Mission sections are monitoring developments related to Ref A; we note there already is an increased police presence throughout the capital. (EAC reported septel.) PATTERSON