India-Pakistan: February 1, 2000


The US issued its strongest criticism to date of the Pakistani military government on 27 Jan, noting that the decision by General Musharraf to order judges to swear oaths of loyalty to his government ran contrary to promises to restore democracy and "undermines the integrity and independence of the judiciary". [Pakistan's chief justice and five members of its Supreme Court have refused to take the oath and were summarily replaced.] The US publicly rebuked the Pakistani government for its close links to terrorist organizations, including the team that hijacked an Air India jetliner last month. The US also complained that Pakistan would not cut its ties to the Taliban government in Afghanistan. The State Department warned that it was on the verge of declaring Pakistan a "state sponsor of terrorism", a move that would block all US aid and end Pakistani hopes for a visit by President Clinton.--Stephen V Cole


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