Dáil Éireann - Volume 637 - 03 July, 2007
Written Answers. - Foreign Conflicts.
Deputy Pat Breen Deputy Pat Breen
Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the political and security situation in Pakistan following recent violence in that country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18707/07]
Deputy Dermot Ahern Deputy Dermot Ahern
Deputy Dermot Ahern: Following the events in Karachi on 12 May, which resulted in the loss of life of over 40 Pakistanis, the political and security situation in Pakistan is calmer but the situation is likely to remain tense in the lead up to Presidential and legislative elections later this year.
As the Deputy will be aware, the recent outbreak of violence in Karachi occurred when supporters of the suspended Chief Justice, protesting his suspension, clashed with members of a Karachi-based political party, the MQM. The Chief Justice’s appeal against his suspension is currently being heard by Pakistan’s Supreme Court, which is expected to deliver its judgment next month. Up until then, and if the suspension is upheld, political tensions surrounding this issue are likely to remain.
A number of other issues relating to the status of various political parties and their leaders are likely to give rise to additional political tensions in the months leading up to the elections. The issue of whether military rule can be replaced by a return to civilian government is also a matter of concern. According to the current Constitution, President Musharraf is required to step down as army chief by the end of the year, if he is to remain President. On a bilateral and EU basis, we have made clear our wish to see the military dissociated from the political process and a return to civil, fully democratic, elected government. It is our hope that all political leaders and parties will do all in their power to maintain order and calm among their followers in the pre-election period.
Other issues of concern in relation to the security situation include the activities of Taliban and Al Qaeda supporters and other extremist groups along the border with Afghanistan and in some of the tribal areas.
Dáil Éireann 637 Written Answers. Foreign Conflicts.