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Socialist candidate calls for solidarity with democracy movement in Pakistan

After protesting journalists in Pakistan were yesterday severely beaten by police, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Griffith, Jim McIlroy has spoken out in solidarity with the people of Pakistan. McIlroy who traveled in Pakistan earlier this year spoke of the “brave struggle for justice being waged against the Musharraf dictatorship”.

He slammed both Prime Minster John Howard and Opposition leader Kevin Rudd for their responses to Musharraf’s crackdown on dissent.

“Neither Howard or Rudd care one iota for the rights of the people of Pakistan. They call for a return to ‘stability’ – but there has been no ‘stability’ for the people of Pakistan who have opposed the Musharraf dictatorship since he took power in 1999”.

“The Australian government should come out strongly and call for the lifting of the state of emergency and the immediate release of all the judges, lawyers, trade unionists, human rights activists and civil society activists who have been arrested.”

“If John Howard and Alexander Downer were seriously concerned about what is happening in Pakistan, they would be calling for the treason charges against trade union leader Liaquat Ali Shah and four others to be dropped. The treason charge carries a death penalty.

“They would also be calling for the anti-terrorist charges against leaders of the Labour Party Pakistan to be dropped,” stated McIlroy.

McIlroy declared that “the Socialist Alliance stands strongly with the struggle against the Musharraf dictatorship. When I traveled through the country I met with many brave activists who risk everything in their fight for justice. It is these people that we should be supporting – not a US backed dictator”.

McIlroy, who spent 2007 living in Venezuela, also pointed out the hypocrisy of the Howard government’s support for the Musharraf government since 1999, while at the same time following in the steps of the US government in labeling Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez a “dictator”.

“The Chavez forces have faced 11 democratic elections since 1998– and in the Presidential elections in December 2005, to which I was a witness, Chavez won the highest majority in Venezuelan history”.

The Socialist Alliance will support a protest in support of the democracy movement in Pakistan that will be held on Wednesday November 28 at 4:30pm in Brisbane Square.

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