US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, Not Allowed to Meet with Lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan, Who is Under House Arrest
December 3rd, 2007
|Press Advisory: December 3
US Activists Confront
Patterson About US Government's Support for
Anne Patterson, US Ambassador to the Pakistan,
went to the home/office of Pakistani lawyer Aitzaz
Ahsan, but was not allowed to meet with him because
he is under house arrest. The Ambassador met with
Mr. Ahsan's wife, Bushra Ahsan, and colleagues.
Emerging from the meeting, she addressed the press
and called for the release of Mr. Ahsan. The Ambassador,
however, did not call for the reinstatement of
the judiciary or the lifting of restrictions on
At the end of her brief remarks, two visiting
US human rights activists who had spent the previous
24 hours at a vigil at Mr. Ahsan's home,
Medea Benjamin and Tighe Barry, confronted the
Ambassador. They shouted: “Why
is the Bush Administration continuing to support
Musharraf? He is not a democrat. He is beating
and imprisoning lawyers, judges and students.
The U.S. should support the real democrats—civil
society—not Musharraf.” They
were pushed and shoved by the Ambassador's
security detail, but they kept repeating the remarks
as the Ambassador was whisked away in her car.
The activists represent the human rights group
Global Exchange and the peace group CODEPINK.
Afterwards, Pakistani lawyers did their own press
conference, relating the stories of the terrible
treatment they received when beaten and jailed
by the police after the imposition of Emergency
Rule on November 3. They called for the freeing
of Atizar Ahsan and all the lawyers and judges
who remain in detention, and the restoration of
an independent judiciary.