You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Friday, December 7, 2007

Germany against emergency rule, judges' ouster and media curbs

German Counsel General in Karachi Hans-Joachim Kiderlen said on Thursday that Germany did not endorse either the emergency rule in Pakistan or other controversial measures, such as the ouster of Supreme Court judges, the curbs imposed on the media and mass arrests of political leaders and activists.

Speaking at a Quetta Press Club 'meet the press' programme, he said the German government was as critical of the imposition of emergency in the country as any other country in the world. However, due to insufficient communication and the language barrier, some segments of society believed the German government's reaction had been soft and not too critical of the present regime.

Restore democracy: "We have not maintained double standards with regards to the situation in Pakistan. We have asked for the restoration of democracy from day one," Kiderlen said.

The German diplomat appreciated Pakistan's role in the war against terrorism and extremism. For this reason particularly, he said a strong, stable and democratic Pakistan was in the greater interest of the region and the international community.

"We are confident that the emergency will be lifted soon and Pakistan will return to normalcy," he said.

Kiderlen told Daily Times after the event that the government of Pakistan had invited international observers to monitor the elections in the country. But, there were signs, he said, that observers would not come to the country under the present circumstances. "Some NGOs might send their observers to Pakistan but the European Union's official observers are yet to decide if they will monitor the January polls. Chances are very rare that they will."

The envoy adopted a very diplomatic tone when asked to comment on the prevailing situation in Balochistan. Though the government of Germany is constantly following developments in the province, including the issue of forced disappearances, it would not like to take
up the matter directly at a government-to government level, he said. "We can't interfere into the domestic issues of Pakistan."

Germany is interested in undertaking more welfare projects in the health and education sectors in Balochistan, said Kiderlen. Three schools and one hospital are already receiving funds from Germany, he added.

Source: Daily Times

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